Monday, November 23, 2009

Secret Honor (movie review)

This is a one-actor monologue, in that sense highly reminscent of the D.W. Jacobs play, going on here in Portland around this time last year, with Bucky played by Doug Tompos.

In this Robert Altman directed version, Philip Baker Hall delivers a paroxysmal almost epileptic performance, a Nixon of inter-connected seizures, of complexes. America has really wrought itself one helluva native son this time.

The contrast with the Bucky character (also fictive) is pretty obvious, but then New England Brahmans were Nixon's arch nemeses right? He brought more of that Havana-Vegas crime boss sheen to his office, given whom he looked up to (Bebe Rebozo and like that).

This rendition of Nixon is hilariously confused about recording equipment; he's in over his head with technology right from the get go. He's always asking the off-screen Roberto to erase this or that confession or outburst, and yet the security camera is rolling the whole time and he's on candid camera. There's something transparent about a man who tries so hard to cover up.

What a fascinating period, even when presented as fiction.