The archival, home movie feel is inexplicably intriguing and reveals the inner workings of a very insecure man. I almost choked when Dwight Chapin said anti-war protestors prolonged the situation (see: occupation) in Vietnam. I had never seen the clip of the woman from the Ray Coniff Singers admonishing President Nixon, and the contrast between their music and the Pentagon Papers headlines was very powerful.
For a long time I was sick of the whole Watergate thing having lived through it. All the conspirators tried to make money from their books. That gave rise to "Don't buy books from crooks". People don't care about that anymore. Nixon never admitted his guilt. For some people Republicans were evil from that point on, ignoring how JFK stole the election from Nixon, of course.
Curious, the leveling effect of Super 8 "home movies," which, much like the Polaroid pictures whose heyday they shared, had a way of making whatever they depicted seem to share the same home. I half-expected to see myself toddle or hurtle alongside sibs and cousins into these shaggy scenes shot on the White House lawn, in the "oval room," on Air Force One, etc. So, I guess I get a little sentimental about Nixon, too.
Our Nixon was not bad at all, editing together home movie and archival footage to tell the story of the mostly pre-Watergate Nixon administration. This documentary doesn't glorify or condemn Nixon and his staff but mostly just seems to act as a time capsule and serve as a testament to just how square the 70s were capable of being.
"There is no doubt he will be judged as one of the great presidents." says John Erlichman near the beginning. I thought of Daniel Pinkwater's book Lizard Music with the kid falling asleep listening to Walter Cronkite. "Hello Neal and Buzz. I am talking to you from the Oval Room at The White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made at the White House." The incredible irony.
The use of archival footage with audio tapes of discussions between the president and his advisors successfully created a personal look into the experience of being a part of a close group. It made me think of what could happen when a group of people are so close and something begins to unravel them. I don't think this would have been as successful in another format or structure.
A gem that demonstrates what a talented editor can do. There's no original footage, but the filmmakers masterfully overlay the home videos with the infamous tapes. The moment where Nixon et al discuss the existence of the tapes is chilling. As is the conversation with an aide about the imminent resignation of Haldeman and Ehrlichmann. The post-resignation conversation b/w Nixon and Haldeman is deeply revealing.
This film is a cleanly put together retelling of the events and story around Nixon. There is nothing missing, nor is there nothing particularly enlightening about what is imparted from the film. It is delivered well, providing more than its fair share of wit and charm. Definitely an easy watch for me.