Saturday, January 05, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Holy Cow this movie was fabulous! (In my humble opinion). Even more so because it is based on a true story. It is a political drama about a Texas congressman's covert fund raising to support Afghanistan's war against the soviets in the late eighties.
I give it a four stars must see for the well told story of the war, the no-holds-barred depiction of the main character's lives, and the spot-on acting of Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson), Julie Roberts (Joanne Herring), and Philip Seymour Hoffman as CIA agent Gust Avrakotos. They played their roles with fervor and the characters had great depth to them. THAT is how you develop characters Hollywood! Kudos to the writers Aaron Sorkin (screen play), George Crile (book) and director Mike Nichols!

The movie hops from scene to scene following Charlie Wilson's life, starting with a club rife with strippers and hot tubs, to his office in Washington, to social parties, to Afghanistan, to meetings abroad, and back to his office. Normally that would make me crazy, but it was so well edited that you don't really get distracted by it. The transitions are smooth and keep the story moving merrily along.

The most chilling scene in the whole film comes at the end of the movie (I don't want you to miss it). They are at a party celebrating Russia's withdrawal from Afghanistan and Gust, the CIA agent takes Charlie outside on the balcony to talk to him. Basically he says to Charlie that, "Yes all the people are cheering that this is a good thing, but....we'll see." This is clear foreshadowing of 9/11 and at that moment you hear the roar of a jet plane engine passing overhead. I still get chills just writing about it. No horror film has ever elicited such goose flesh on myself as that scene.

If there is anything bad that I could say about the film (and I'm not) it's that the whole story just flows so smoothly. There is no major crisis or hardship that jeopardizes the characters and their goals. Oh they try, when Charlie's lifestyle is scrutinized by the justice department, but it is never a real threat and Charlie just blows it off. Nor are their any suspenseful moments that lead to a dramatic victory. I guess what I am saying is that for a drama....there was very little drama. But I enjoyed the story and the characters so much; I didn't really care.
I found it slightly ironic that Hanks plays a character named Wilson. Go on....think about it. Remember Castaway? WILSON!!! Foreshadowing? I know it's a stretch, so shut up! ;)
And go check out Charlie Wilson's War!

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