Friday, February 12, 2010


At the risk of getting political, I’d like to say that this was a pretty good movie. It doesn’t really offer any new insight into what helped shape the 43rd President of the United States. But “W.” does a good job of stringing together the story of a party boy who wanders aimlessly through life, reaches the land’s highest office yet still can’t get his father’s approval. Director Oliver Stone walks a fine line between biopic and satire and at time it’s difficult to tell which side he's on. Josh Brolin gives a credible performance as George W. Bush from his days at Yale to the post-Iraq period. But for me, the show is really in the side characters. Thandie Newton plays an obsequious Condoleezza Rice who spends most of her screen time wearing an expression that looks as if she swallowed a lemon. Scott Glenn’s Donald Rumsfeld is completely lost, has no respect for the President, or both. In one particular meeting, he seems more interested in the pie than the policy. And Jeffrey Wright portrays Colin Powell as the only man of principle in the room. The one false note is Richard Dreyfuss, who might bear a faint resemblance to Dick Cheney, but doesn’t have the former VP’s scowl or his growl. (It was difficult to picture “Mr. Holland” bullying the CIA into fudging the yellow cake reports.) With fact-based dramas like this I often find myself wondering how much is fact and how much is drama. With “W.” I also wondered how much is “Oliver Stone?”— this is the man who directed the conspiracy-theorist’s favorite “J.F.K.” Regardless, there’s one thing about “W.” I have absolutely no doubt about: It would have been a lot more entertaining if it weren’t true. My Tweet: W.-Oliver Stone biopic makes the case that while anyone can become President of the United States, not everyone should. 7.5 (out of 10)


Released: 2008

Rating: PG-13

Length: 129 minutes

Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss

Director: Oliver Stone

Genre(s): Drama, Biopic, Satire

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