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.