12:00 PM EDT, July 18, 2013
While it's one memory lane some may rather not stroll down, the divisive near-term-and-a-half of America's disgraced 37th president is recounted with economy, focus and, at times, pitch-dark humor in the documentary "Our Nixon."
Director Penny Lane, with an able assist from editor Francisco Bello, offers an absorbing snapshot of Richard M. Nixon's fraught, occasionally triumphant time in the Oval Office, culled largely from more than 500 reels of long-forgotten Super-8 home movie footage shot by Nixon aides — and eventual Watergate break-in conspirators — John Ehrlichman, H.R Haldeman and Dwight Chapin. These silent images, which plainly capture Nixon and his inner circle during a variety of key and random moments, are combined with chilling audio from Nixon's notorious White House tapes, archival news and interview clips and a bit of creative editorializing by Lane.
It all reconfirms Nixon as the often cranky, arrogant, delusional square legions of detractors have kicked around for decades (his anti-gay rant is a corker). The Ehrlichman-Haldeman-Chapin troika, a study in youthful hubris and misguided devotion, comes off almost as troubling.
For political history junkies, such defining, Nixon-era events as the Vietnam War protests and the conflict's wind down, the Pentagon Papers leak, the president's landmark 1972 trip to China, his landslide reelection and, of course, the Watergate scandal and its fallout are revisited in compelling, "you-were-there" fashion. It's a haunting, thoroughly evocative ride.
Rating: No MPAA rating
Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Playing at: Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino
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