A chilling drama that explores and exposes the dark side of the American Dream, The Assassination of Richard Nixon focuses on the tragic true story of Sam Bicke (Sean Penn), a disillusioned everyman who, in 1974, was driven to plot the assassination of the 37th president of the United States.
Sean Penn (looking rather Rupert Pupkin-like) is Samuel Bicke, whose life, circa 1974, has become unbearable. His wife (Naomi Watts) has left him, his dead-end sales job is killing him--even his best friend (Don Cheadle) has had enough. Bicke's a loser, but at least he's an honest one. Nixon, the epitome of dishonesty, becomes the locus of his rage, so Bicke devises a plan to eliminate him. Paul Schrader claims he finished writing Taxi Driver
before the real-life Byck attempted to assassinate the president. Maybe so, but the similarities are hard to ignore (and "Bickle" sounds a lot like "Byck"). Niels Mueller (Tadpole
) doesn't disguise the fact that his debut was inspired by the guy. If The Assassination of Richard Nixon
doesn't hit Taxi Driver
's (admittedly lofty) heights, it's still a discomfiting look at a man determined to leave his mark on the world, only to become a footnote. --Kathleen C. Fennessy