It's the late 70s and with his TV career stuck in a rut, British presenter David Frost (Michael Sheen) sets up an exclusive interview with disgraced former US President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) in the hope that it will boost his profile. Initially flippant about the encounter, Frost hires two experts Bob Zelnik (Oliver Platt) and James Reston Jr (Sam Rockwell) to research the infamous Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's sensational resignation. As Zelnik and Reston impress upon Frost the importance of the encounter for the American people - it being an opportunity to finally wring the truth about Watergate from the slippery ex-President - the playboy presenter realises he's going to have to step up his game. As Frost finally sits down with the charismatic, combative former Commander in Chief, a battle of wills begins that will yield one of the most revelatory interviews in the history of television, with Nixon coming as close as he ever would to delivering a full confession.
Prolific screenwriter Peter Morgan adapts his own hit play for this riveting film version that sees the two original cast members of the stage show reprise their roles. Morgan successfully fleshes out the intimate play, with Ron Howard capturing the period detail perfectly and giving the film version greater scope, while allowing his two stars to square off without resorting to typically Hollywood histrionics. Completely at home with their wellpractised roles, Sheen and Langella's verbal jousting is rife with tension, yet often amusing and always gripping, with the hesitant, awkward trust that develops between the two men surprisingly affecting.
While Howard is best known for glossy blockbusters, he shows here that he's come a long way since directing the likes of Willow and Splash, delivering an intelligent, engrossing and frequently unbearably tense depiction of one of the greatest moments in television journalism.