Wednesday, November 5, 2008


DAN - Academy Award winner Oliver Stone’s latest film chronicles a fictionalized version of the life and times of George W. Bush. Though the story is based on actual events, many scenes and conversations are created to support Stone’s comedic vision of the president.

I’ve never been a fan of Oliver Stone. Alexander was painfully long and boring, and World Trade Center seemed like an attempt to take advantage of a crisis for personal gain. W. is a politically charged film, and I get the feeling that Stone created it for the primary purpose of drawing in crowds.

Having said that, this movie is all right. Although Stone makes it clear that he does not approve of President Bush, this is a film that can be enjoyed by democrats and [open minded] republicans alike.

Josh Brolin (Goonies, No Country for Old Men) delivers a surprisingly effective impression of Bush. He succeeds in going beyond the typical caricature, providing a character that feels human. I found myself sympathizing with this variant of Bush, which I’m sure is also due to the screenplay by Stanley Weiser.

The rest of the ensemble cast is impressive, consisting of James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ellen Burstyn, and plenty more. Each performance is funny and unique, emphasizing the strange variety of characters that have been a part of this administration.

The most powerful and thought-provoking moment in this film takes place after the credits. The very last image we see is a symbol of the crucifix morphing into a “W.” Stone is a self-proclaimed Buddhist, so I’m not sure if this is a jab at Bush or Christianity.

Other than that, this is a pretty basic movie, serving as a retrospective of sorts. I’m interested in seeing how people will perceive this film in the future; will it be the definitive representation of Bush’s presidency? I hope not.


STEVE - When I first heard that controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone was tackling a project about our current president I was (to say the least) shocked, appalled and very intrigued. A fictional biography on a living, still in office president… you don’t say?

Of course a film dealing with a major political figure, conveniently coming out around the time of presidential elections is sure to have political undertones, which this movie does about a third of the way into the film. However, this doesn’t keep W. from being a riveting and engrossing drama about the man in the White House.

The film focuses on the life of President Bush (the second one), and not so much on his political decisions, which was a wise choice by the filmmakers that easily paid off do to actor Josh Brolin. Brolin is intoxicatingly funny, gripping, and riveting as George W. Bush and I wouldn’t be the least surprised if he received an Oscar nomination for his performance. Equally as enjoyable was James Cromwell who was brilliant as Bush Sr.

Director Oliver Stone made excellent casting selections. Not only do his actors look and sound similar to their real life counterparts, but each actor brings to the table engrossing performances that drive the momentum of the story. The movie works for this very reason.

Great performances and a riving script that surprisingly tells it as it is makes W. a must see.

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