Nominated for four Academy Awards®, Nixon explores one of the most complex, captivating, and controversial figures in American politics as the subject of acclaimed Director Oliver Stone's captivating and powerful historical drama. Oscar®-winner Anthony Hopkins takes on the title role in this incredible political journey that follows Richard Nixon's rise from a poverty-stricken law student to his landslide presidential election and subsequent fall from grace—the only U.S. President ever to resign office. A major figure in nearly every post World War II political scenario, Nixon's life parallels the growth of the nation, while his personal life represents the dark side of the Horacio Alger myth.
Special features on Disc One include two commentary tracks, both by Stone. Disc Two includes 12 deleted scenes, a 35-minute featurette Beyond Nixon, a 55-minute interview with Charlie Rose and Stone, the original theatrical trailer, and up-front previews. This Extended Directors Cut adds 26 minutes of footage, bringing it to a running time of 3 hours, 32 minutes.
Whites bloom in the anamorphically enhanced 2.39:1 DVD, which can give the image a washed-out, ethereal appearance. Resolution can be slightly soft, but is generally sharp. Compression artifacts are also noticeable on occasion. But black levels are solid—an improvement over the DVD reviewed in Issue 48—and shadow delineation is also improved. Colors are more natural than the previous release as well, and when compared to the non-anamorphic previous release, resolution is noticeably improved. Fleshtones appear natural, and source element artifacts are cleaned up well. Edge enhancement can be heavy, though, especially noticeable on high-contrast transitions. Resolution in the H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc is quite good, with fine textures and details delivered well. Still, the image isn't resolved as well as the best high-definition releases are. Black levels are deep, and shadow delineation is nicely rendered. Fleshtones appear natural, and compression artifacts aren't noticeable. (Danny Richelieu)
There is an audible sense of depth in the front stage of the Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack, with good integration of the dialogue with the effects and music. Fidelity is pristine, and dynamic range is wide. Dialogue occasionally sounds unnaturally forward and muffled, though. The noise floor is very low. The LFE channel is rarely used, and deep bass isn't a large part of the sound design. Phantom imaging is also rare, with sound generally limited to the physical locations of the loudspeakers. The uncompressed linear PCM 5.1-channel soundtrack features improved dynamic range and fidelity over the lossy DVD encoding, with better fluidity in the midrange and tighter low bass. Dialogue can still sound unnaturally forward, but it seems to be less muffled. The mix is the same as the DVD, which is a limitation. Still the soundtrack is enjoyable. (Danny Richelieu)