Nov 14, 2020 in Analysis

Film Analysis

J. Edgar and Frost Nixon



There are many historical films in cinematography. Every country usually shoots films that depict its history, leaders, and important events. The United States probably has the biggest number of historical movies. Some of them vividly and truly show different events from the past of the country while others often distort historical facts. The purpose of the paper is to analyze two American historical movies J. Edgar and Frost Nixon and define their correspondence with the real events.

J. Edgar

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The 20th century in the United States and the multi-polar world in general was extremely difficult due to the numerous wars and contradicting personalities. However, the course of history always implies the presence of true heroes that live to solve the most serious problems for the good of the people. It is obvious that Edgar J. Hoover was and always will be such a hero. Having experienced a huge number of wars, reforms, and the Great Depression, he was able to do the main thing to create a powerful and modern organization able to deal with internal and external threats. He was the man who founded the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and changed the structure of the US police. The FBI has become the most influential governmental human rights organization in the United States since then. To tell the story of the hero, the movie was directed by Clint Eastwood starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the main role. The author Geoff Mayer states that the film also examines Hoovers close relationship with his associate director, Clyde Tolson (135). The director has set a difficult task to show on the screen 50 years of the US history in two hours.

Edgar J. Hoover survived three major wars and the governments of eight presidents. During that period, his determination to fight crime did not weaken. After Edgar J. Hoover headed a bureau, he did everything possible to strengthen it and protect his country from major shocks. However, despite the commitment to defend the law, he periodically violated not only his rules but the ones that were mandatory for all Americans. The main purpose of Hoovers actions was not a personal well-being but safety of American citizens. In the film about Edgar J. Hoover, all the events in his life are presented through the prism of perception of the hero, who could distort the truth for the sake of his goals. However, he always does it for the triumph of the highest justice. Therefore, everyone considered and continue to consider him a real hero.

Every scene is a transition from one decade to another. They depict the US history and the people who make the world of the FBI for the good of their country. Clint Eastwood successfully shows the viewers the United States of that time because the director was living during the Hoovers power. With this film, Clint Eastwood shows his patriotism and love for the Motherland. It is a story of Edgar J. Hoover, a man who changed everything, a man who was devoted to his work, and a man who was a director and an eternal mystery of the 20th century.

Frost Nixon

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Another film that shows the history of the United States in the 20th century is Frost Nixon. The director of the film is Ron Howard. The main actors are Frank Langella and Michael Sheen. It is a story about the events of 1977. Three years after the infamous resignation followed by the Watergate scandal, former US President Richard Nixon broke his silence and gave an exclusive interview to British TV host David Frost. However, the confession of an odious politician figure suddenly turned into a fascinating intellectual battle that was incorporated in the golden annals of American television journalism.

In the film, there is old and tired Nixon smiling to the crowd by habit, playing with the journalist in a clever game with the help of speeches learned by rote, and destroying the enemy by monologs. The film Frost Nixon is different from most historical films with the presence of a huge number of monologs. In the book The Technique of Film and Video Editing: History, Theory, and Practice, it is stated that for Nixon, the interview ends a failure to revive his career (Dancyger 264). The director shows what it means to be the President of a great country. They must be able to speak and do not give the opponent the possibility to insert a word.

Nixon entered the US history. He was a landmark character and without a scandal and revelations would still remain in peoples memory. In the film, there are the Presidents memories of his meeting with Brezhnev and Mr. and Mrs. Mao. The film also depicts Nixons views on the Vietnam campaign and racism. The devastation that enveloped the face of Nixon at the end of the film is as a print of history on the name of the US President.

However, such important historical events as the Vietnam War and relations with the USSR are not sufficiently disclosed in the film. It is more a personal drama than the historical picture. The director was interested not in the intrigues of the powerful figures but in the confrontation between two completely different people who become similar at some point.

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Historical films based on the real events help viewers learn more about important events and people. However, not all of them depict these facts truly. Many historical movies distort the truth. To my mind, such films as Frost Nixon and J. Edgar are good films about important figures in the US history. According to Dr. Foner, a historical theme has had a huge impact on the cinematography. These films have both distorted ideas and real historical facts. Despite the fact that they do not completely disclose the historical period of that time, they vividly portray such notable people as Richard Nixon and Edgar J. Hoover.


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