Preview by: Jack Foley
THIS years Cannes Film Festival appeared to be a breeding
ground for film-makers desperate to take a pot-shot at current
Michael Moore grabbed the majority of the headlines for his latest
documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11,
but another of Hollywoods anti-Bush brigade, Sean Penn,
also showcased his latest movie, The Assassination of Richard
Nixon, and wasted no time in applying its message to current world
The film in question finds Penn as a desperate salesman, who
plans an assassination attempt on Richard Nixon, by crashing a
plane into the White House in order to make his point.
It is based on the true story of an incident which happened,
in 1974, by a furniture salesman.
According to Penn, the central character, Samuel Bycks
extreme stance against perceived corruption had manifested itself
in him wanting to act violently, and claim the life of the US
The actor believes the film serves as a neat parable for the
present-day situation, due to the striking similarities between
the September 11 attacks and the ongoing situation in Iraq.
Penn is a vocal opponent of the George Bush administration and
has spoken out against US foreign policy on several occasions
since the start of the fighting, even travelling to Iraq before
and after the war to view the situation for himself, and subsequently
write an article for one of Americas leading newspapers.
He even claimed that his views had prevented him from securing
several roles, but remains unrepentant for continuing to question
Bushs motives and policies.
Speaking at Cannes, he even went so far as to criticise Hollywood
for shying away from politics in movies, declaring that it was
one of the few art forms that has failed to respond to the times.
He went on to describe his own film as the story of somebody
who feels that there's a hand at their throat and that, bit by
bit, they act to remove that hand.
"Often when people's hearts are oppressed and silenced they
will act in extreme and violent and horrible ways," he told
a press conference. "So I'd like to think that in the parallel
that this dramatises well, there will be some thoughts provoked
about how to fix the problem before it happens."
The film marks the directing debut of Niels Mueller, who co-wrote
the well-received coming-of-age drama, Tadpole, last year, as
well as being the first production of director, Alfonso Cuarons
company, Monsoon Entertainment (Cuaron is best-known for Y
Tu Mama Tambien and current Harry Potter flick, The
Prisoner of Azkaban).
It co-stars Don Cheadle, Naomi Watts (who last appeared alongside
Penn in 21 Grams), and Michael
Wincott (who appears as his brother).
No release date has yet been scheduled for the US.
In spite of Penns claims about roles, however, the actor
appears to be extremely busy at the moment.
Aside from The Assassination of Richard Nixon, the talented star
is also basking in the glory of his recent Oscar success, for
Mystic River, as well as appearing
alongside Nicole Kidman in upcoming thriller, The