Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

W.

 

Review by Paul Edwards

Michael Moore. David Zucker. Bill O’Reilly. Rush Limbaugh. When it comes to political movies or ‘documentaries’, most of the time seems to be spent skewering the other side, regardless of affiliation. One can even argue that Oliver Stone can fit right into that company. Well, in his new movie, W., a fair and balanced look on the current sitting President George W. Bush, Stone does NOT go for the usual knock-knock jokes and stereotypes rampant in past political filmsm but instead, he uses a narrative style that has its moments of humor of past times but also there is a deep psychological struggle within W. that gives the film much more depth then previous films in this genre.

Before we can talk about he movie, there are some amazing performances I have to highlight first. Jeffrey Wright chews up the scenery as Colin Powell. The inner confliction, the questions, and the regrets are all there. (In a historical note, ever since Powell resigned from the Bush Administration in November 2004, he has been pretty much underground. Well, if he saw how he is portrayed in this film, he would see that there is nothing to be afraid of. We know, through the help of Stone, the troubles he had to go through and it’s pretty sad how it all went down.)

The second major highlight was, as expected, Josh Brolin as George W. Bush. Not only did Brolin land his demeanor, his candor, and his inner conflict but it looked like he had hella fun doing it! I had always dismissed the talks of him getting an Oscar nomination with this role but boy, oh boy, my mind has flipped on that one. If Robert Downey Jr. can get talked up for Tropic Thunder, then Brolin should get equal treatment. He walks the line between parody and reality with such grace and conviction, it makes that TBS stuff look like child’s play.

Finally, I just have to add that yes, I am pretty liberal and wouldn’t mind a good skewering of the current President, but I can tell you, this film is not that. It will leave feelings of sympathy and sadness. There are many scenes that are in the life within the film that really show that, hey, this guy is human. You may disagree with him but you can’t disrespect him.  Or even misunderestimate him.

Overall, I say this is a must see if you are even slightly interested in politics or even just curious about the Presidency. The film is amazingly thoughtful and sympathetic.  And be sure to leave your political affiliation at the door, as it should not be a qualification for watching this movie.

4 / 5 stars

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