Wow, what a film. Afterwards I can honestly say that the group who went to see it were slightly shell shocked, we were all a bit glum and sombre. However, that does not make this a bad movie, it was an excellent movie and entirely down to the superb performance of Sean Penn.
I’m really glad this movie got made, having heard of the problems it faced during production. The Twin Towers were attacked and the Studios became really nervous, a story of a man who tried to hijack a plane and fly it into the Whitehouse was not what they thought the public wanted to see. I believe Mr Penn was a strong voice of opposition, as were the team behind the movie, and they pushed to keep this going. It did, and the eventual release has shown it was the right choice.
As the movie progresses your level of unease grows, the character of XX just continually makes you feel uncomfortable, there’s an odd edge to him which you just can’t quite put your finger on, and this level grows and grows as the performance gets more and more off kilter. It’s an abject lesson in how someone can loose their bearings and decide to set their life on a course of action that seems totally illogical and indeed crazy to everyone else.
At first I thought that it was a poor performance from Penn that was irritating me, and that was why I was uncomfortable and loosing patience. Actually it wasn’t that at all, when the behaviour was obvious and his actions became more radical, that’s when I realised it was his excellent portrayal of the slow slide from reality that was affecting me.
The movie is bleak, yet it retains a sliver of hope, that being that from the opening scenes you know that something isn’t right with the character anyway. Although even that comes apart when you understand that once he had a wife, two kids, a dog and a successful life.
Throughout the movie there’s the underlying current of the commercialism and corruptness of US society, on how the country has become like the whole ethos of sales, fake and full of lies. With the events that occur to the character and those that happen around him that belong to the time, there is an element of sympathy and understanding with him.
I can’t praise Penn enough, oddly I can’t remember when he suddenly became such a great actor, yet I do remember him being awful and a wild character. Now though, there’s nothing I couldn’t see him taking on.
The whole feel of the film is perfect for that Watergate era, even to the tiniest detail. It seems that this is something that they’ve worked on really hard to achieve, and it helps you to believe in the performances.
I would say that it’s a great film, a wonderful performance and you really should go and see it, however have something happy to do afterwards, go out with friends and have some fun. If you enjoy the movie, you’ll be taken in by the performance and you’ll feel like we did afterwards. I’ve never heard a movie audience be so quiet during the movie and the appearance of the credits.