San Bernardino Sun
'He's the greatest salesman in the country. He made a promise. He didn't deliver. Then he sold us on the exact same promise again. That's believing in himself.'
Name that president. Too many possibilities, you say? That's one of many disquieting elements in Niels Mueller's striking debut feature, "The Assassination of Richard Nixon.' Mueller wrote this movie five years ago, before W, before Iraq, which just goes to show, of course, that political swindling continues to be ingrained in the fabric of our country and it always will be. People watching "Assassination' 100 years from now will still marvel at its relevance.
Mueller's movie isn't really political, though, even if its topicality is sometimes unnerving. At its core, it's more a portrait of one man's descent into alienation and madness, part "Death of a Salesman,' part "Taxi Driver.' The central figure is Samuel Bicke (the ever-astonishing Sean Penn), a real-life footnote in the list of would-be assassins who tried to hijack a plane and crash it into the White House in 1974. (Yet another disturbing present-day parallel that predated the movie's origins.)