W.

Rating – **1/2

W

By the climatic press conference scene, Josh Brolin has totally transformed into Bush. Just as Daniel Craig IS James Bond, Josh Brolin IS George Bush. Ok maybe that’s not such a cool thing and I doubt it will spawn such an entertaining franchise but you get the point. The world media watch in dumbstruck silence as Bush grapples poorly with the English language. His mumbled answers become increasingly incoherent and he reveals his fragile and broken soul to the world. It’s sad pathetic and damning to the American people who actually voted for him!

Despite Brolin’s truly excellent performance, W succumbs to a slightly pantomime tone. The other performances are a mixed bag. Richard Dreyfus and Toby Jones are both great, frankly it’s good to see Dreyfus back on screen again. However Tandy Newton is hideous as Condoleezza Rice! No I don’t mean her performance is dead on, it’s just ludicrous. She sucks the credibility out of every scene with a weird impression that would feel more at home on Saturday Night live. Whenever recent politic figures are depicted on film they run the risk of being unintentionally funny. I felt the same way about The Queen. If you look past Helen Mirren and her Oscar, there’s a tacky ITV family drama feel to everything else. The fact is that we are so used to seeing Bush depicted as a moron in countless comedy sketches that these were never far from my mind. To his credit, Oliver Stone has crafted many impressive scenes and Brolin is the glue that holds everything together. He rises above obvious parody and shows a man who is far from stupid. That’s the thing about Bush he’s not actually stupid,  just handicapped by a unique brand of good ol’ Texan ignorance and right wing Christian fundamentalism. Obviously this can’t excuse him for the most reckless, poorly conceived and often reprehensible leadership of any president in history……. but it does explain some of it! In spite of his politics Bush does have charm. I found myself come to the uncomfortable realisation that I not only kind of liked him on a personal level, but actually felt sorry for him! He’s a guy that lived in the shadow of his father. It’s questionable weather his motivation was to earn respect or simply overshadow Bush Sr. That is his central flaw and we all paid for it. He became president for the wrong reasons, and probably not even fairly or legally. He was out of his depth and he listened to the wrong advice. Maybe Oliver Stone faced a similar situation during production. W isn’t a terrible film and it has flashes of greatness. But it is deeply flawed and you’ll feel short changed and disappointed.

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~ by thewholebuffalo on July 18, 2009.

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