'The Assassination of Richard Nixon'
(Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Naomi Watts / R / 94 mins / Universal)
Overview: In 1974, a desperate salesman named Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) finds that his family and career are both falling apart. Eventually, he comes to believe that President Nixon represents everything wrong with his life and hatches a plot to assassinate him.
Verdict: Fine performances aside this is too hermetic and sealed-off a film to really elicit much reaction in the end besides a mute sort of sadness. That said, Penn sweats, whines, wails, and implodes like the immaculate character-research-lab pro he is! The primary problem with Mueller's affecting film is one of tone and although studious and overwhelming for the most part, 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon,' offers up a brave, spot-on portrait of one man pulverized by the system during the Watergate era. Seeing is truly believing whenever Sean Penn is on the screen, that's for sure!