The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Rated R 2004

Sean Penn returns to the big screen playing a man who's been so put upon that he takes out his wrath on a divisive Republican president -- one, we might add, who's been reelected despite his continued involvement in a war that seems to be going nowhere. No, not Bush . . . Nixon. You probably know that Nixon wasn't actually assassinated in 1974, so no suspense in that department. This film is more of a Death of a Salesman deal. Penn's Sam Bicke sells office furniture for a living, but he isn't good at it; he loathes the fact that a successful salesman is compelled to stretch the truth in order to make more money. President Nixon, he decides, is the greatest salesman in the world, for getting himself reelected with the same empty promises that got him in the first time. With family and job falling apart, Bicke has found the perfect scapegoat. Penn is more nuanced here than he was in Mystic River, and first-time director Niels Mueller shows an aptitude for actors.

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The Assassination of Richard Nixon

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