Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson’s War is the new Tom Hanks vehicle. Based on a true story, Hanks plays Charlie Wilson, a debauched southern senator who seems to spend half his time bedding beautiful women and the other half helping to finance the CIA’s operations in Afghanistan during the Cold War.

As this description suggests Charlie Wilson’s War is a film of two halves and one half is significantly better than the other. The first half is a frothy, fun, brittle comedy with good performances by likeable, recognisable stars. The second half, dealing with the politics, is less well handled. When the Americans decide they will help Afghanistan shoot down the Russian helicopters there is a lot of flag waving and patriotism, which, as a Brit, made me feel slightly queasy. The film could have included more about the wider political context and the repercussions these actions had, which were not all good.

Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a stand-out performance as a rouge CIA agent who helps Charlie get what Charlie wants, for which he has received a deserved Oscar nomination.


Blogger Benjamin Nakizo said...

I saw this film a few nights ago and was quite impressed with it.

I actually thought that the flag waving bits were done quite well, but then I do have very low expectations when it comes to American portrayals of its own actions.

Perhaps I liked the idea that Charlie was far from a typical hero, with many personal vices. And that even taking himself - and then the other Congressman chap - to see the refugee camps was a brilliant act of manipulation by everyone involved. I also liked its honesty about the reality of Washington politics, and how expensive nights out, flattery and personal favours shape this world more than most Americans care to admit.

I wasn't so sure about the chess playing character. I'm not so keen on this Fox Moulder type of character that, according to the movies, America is full of. I found Charlie to be far more believable.

Although I suspect these elements come across better in the book. Which having now seen the film, I suspect i'll never get round to reading.


8:00 AM


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