Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Brad William Henke and Nick Searcy

Niels Mueller

Running Time:
95 mins

"But I have to lie"

Samuel J. Bicke (Penn) had always wanted to live the American dream. To have a good job, a decent home and a loving family wasn't much to ask but things don't always work out how you played them. His wife Marie (Watts) has left him and taken the kids with her, the banks refuse to lend him any money to start up his tire business with his black friend Bonny Simmons (Cheadle) and his sales job makes a lair of him every day. When his wife files for divorce, he snaps and plots to assassinate the man he thinks is responsibly for all his problems, the President of the United States, Richard Nixon.

Arguably one of the best actors of his generation, Sean Penn is always captivating in whatever he does but is 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon' another example of his genius?

Based on real events, the story of Samuel J. Bicke's disillusionment with 1970s American is one that still rings true even today. The American dream is dying in Sam's eyes as his world starts to fall apart in front of his eyes. His wife has left him, taking the kids with her. The racism in the country doesn't allow him to get a loan to set up a business with his black friend Bonny. But the thing he really hates is that fact that he has to lie constantly in his job. Now he wants to reclaim the American dream but he will have to go to extreme measures to achieve this.

This story of a man's disenchantment with the American government and its figurehead President Richard Nixon, is very similar to what many US citizens are feeling today but the extremes that Samuel goes to would not really happen in today's anti-terrorism climate. The 60s and 70s were a turbulent time for the US with no one safe, not even presidents and this is reflected in this powerful story of the failure towards the average man in the US at the time.

Bringing this intriguing and engaging story to life is a reverting performance from Sean Penn. He is arguably the best actor working in Hollywood today. A method actor in the extreme, the man totally becomes the character making him completely believable. The film charts Sam's fall into complete disillusionment with his life and Penn brings his retribution towards the powers that are determined to bring him down extremely truthfully. This is not calculated but a desperate man who has lost everything, who gets an idea that he thinks will change America for the better. Penn drives the movie and it is the power of his performance that makes the movie so watchable.

Naomi Watts and Don Cheadle provide good support to Penn's driving performance. Watts plays Sam's wife Marie who sees his life falling apart before her eyes but thinks that it is his own doing as he won't comply how the US is now. All she wants from him is money for their children and Sam's problems are making this a real problem. Watts and Penn have great on screen chemistry and continue to work well together. Don Cheadle is as good as ever as Sam's best friend Bonny Simmons, being Sam's conscience.

'The Assassination of Richard Nixon' is a fascinating insight into the mindset of a disillusioned average America during the early 70s. With riveting performance from Sean Penn, the issues that his movie raises is still relevant today and this is what makes the film so watchable.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the movie is presented very well.


Commentary by Director Niels Mueller
The man behind the helm talks about the four-year journey the movie went through to hit the silver screen. Revealing background of the story and talking about the real Sam Bicke, the director also discusses the influences behind the film and how it is different from many other movies released at the moment. He also talks about the more technical aspects of the filming process to provide a fascinating insight into how a more character driven, smaller budget movie is made.

Behind the Scenes Documentary (10.54 mins)
Director Niels Mueller, writer/producer Kevin Kennedy and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki talk about the true story of Sam Bicke that influenced the movie that turned it from a fiction piece to a dramatisation of actual events. Taking you behind the scenes of the airport shoot, the featurette shows you how the film was shot and how the 70s time period was reproduced.

Deleted Scenes (8.04 mins)
These five deleted scenes have optional commentary by director Niels Mueller and show more of Sam at work, working with the sales tape, watching his family disintegrate, his reaction to Nixon on TV and Sam's tape to Marlon Brando.

US Theatrical Trailer (2.26 mins), UK Theatrical Trailer (2.22 mins) and UK TV Spots (0.30 mins)
Watch the promotional trailers for the North American and British releases of the movie Sean Penn's Toronto Press Conference (4.07 mins) A text presentation of the question and answer session attended by the star of the movie in Toronto

Picture Gallery
A montage of behind the scenes and promotional images for 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon'

Read text biographies for Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Michael Wincott, director Niels Mueller, producer Kevin Kennedy, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, production designer Lester Cohen, editor Jay Cassidy and costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers.

The Real Sam Bicke (A Profile)
Read about the actual Sam Bicke and how his story influenced the movie


For a lower budget movie, this is a good DVD package. With an excellent commentary and some good featurettes and informative support material, fans should be very pleased with this package.


21 Grams

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