Political Dramas Triple Feature: Nixon/All the King's Men/Storyville [DVD]

A trio of movies about ambitious politicians is included in this collection. Anthony Hopkins stars as the United States' controversial 37th president, Richard Nixon, in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), featuring co-stars Joan Allen and James Woods. Steven Zaillian's 2006 adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's 1946 novel All the King's Men about a Louisiana politician's rise to power, and the compromises he is forced to make to get there, stars Sean Penn as Willie Stark, as well as performances from Mark Ruffalo, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, James Gandolfini and more. James Spader plays Cray Fowler, a politician whose affair with a prostitute (Charolette Lewis) brings to light some buried secrets from his own family's past in Mark Frost's 1992 drama Storyville, which also stars Jason Robards.
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Overview

Synopsis

Nixon
Oliver Stone, the most outspokenly political American filmmaker of the 1980s and '90s, directs this epic-length biography of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the U.S., who was re-elected by a landslide in 1972, only to resign in disgrace two years later. Taking a non-linear approach, Nixon jumps back and forth between many different periods and events, from Nixon's strict upbringing at the hands of his Quaker mother, through the many peaks and valleys of his political career, to his downfall in the wake of the Watergate scandal. The facts of his life are blended with supposition and speculation to create a portrait that is often critical of the man's policies but displays an unexpected compassion toward his failings as a human being. Anthony Hopkins stars as Nixon, Joan Allen plays his long-suffering wife Pat, Mary Steenburgen portrays his mother Hannah, Bob Hoskins is cast as J. Edgar Hoover, Powers Boothe plays Alexander Haig, Paul Sorvino portrays Henry Kisinger, and Ed Harris plays E. Howard Hunt. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Storyville
Mark Frost, the writer and director best known for his work with David Lynch on the TV series Twin Peaks, made his feature film directorial debut with this convoluted thriller. Cray Fowler (James Spader) is running for congress, partly to satisfy his own political aspirations and partly to resolve certain controversies in his life; he divorced his wife after discovering that she was unfaithful, and his father committed suicide after he became involved in a scandal regarding valuable oil rights. While on the campaign trail, Fowler is persuaded to visit Lee Tran (Charlotte Lewis), a waitress he meets at a fund raiser. Fowler and Lee Tran have sex, which is caught on videotape; as if this isn't strong enough blackmail material, Lee Tran's father turns up dead in the room where Fowler wakes up. But Lee, not Fowler, is charged with the murder, and Fowler, a lawyer, agrees to defend her in court. Fowler wins the case against beautiful District Attorney Natalie Tate (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), Fowler's former girlfriend, but now he needs to find out who is trying to set him up and for what reason; he hopes he can get some help from his uncle, Clifford Fowler (Jason Robards), a political kingmaker of the old school who knows all the family's secrets. The supporting cast includes Piper Laurie, Michael Parks, Chuck McCann, and Woody Strode. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

All the King's Men
The legacy of a populist Southern politician whose lofty ambitions for the future leave him open to corruption and scandal is detailed as author Robert Penn Warren's thinly veiled portrait of Depression-era Louisiana governor Huey Long comes to the screen -- again -- this time courtesy of director and screenwriter Steven Zaillian. Willie Stark (Sean Penn) is a man of the people, and for the people; at least that's what he tells the people. Propelled into a race for governor by opposing forces looking to split the "hick vote," Stark is convinced by a handler -- as well as by young journalist Jack Burden (Jude Law) -- to not kowtow to the powers that be. His rhetoric grows fiery, and he makes his way into office on a not-so-solid foundation of social-service promises. When idealism gives way to the harsh realities of the time, however, the fast-talking politico is quick to discover just how far one can fall when ambition and power lead to a betrayal of one's original motivations. Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins round out an all-star cast in this second version of Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 novel; the first won a parade of Oscars after its release in 1949. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Anthony Hopkins
    Anthony Hopkins - Richard M. Nixon
  • Joan Allen
    Joan Allen - Pat Nixon
  • Powers Boothe
    Powers Boothe - Alexander Haig
  • Ed Harris
    Ed Harris - E. Howard Hunt
  • Bob Hoskins
    Bob Hoskins - J. Edger Hoover
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