i'm not sure why Oliver Stone chose to do his George W Bush biopic at this particular time. a fall 2008 release could be seen as an attempt to help the democrats win the election by reminding us how retarded the W is, but i don't think that's it at all... W.- the very unofficial biography of George W Bush- is a great speculative character analysis of President Bush and his administration (warts and all), but it isn't nearly negative enough to serve as campaign propaganda... and i mean that in a good way! i'm not sure if a pro-Bush Republican (if any should still exist) would feel this way, but i thought the movie was pretty flattering to President Bush: Stone illustrates many of Bush's good points and establishes him as a human being, not a blood-thirsty/money-hungry demagouge.
Josh Brolin (American Gangster, No Country For Old Men, Grindhouse) is transcendant as the son-of-privilege-turned-head-of-state. his performance goes a long way to humanizing George, who lives in the collective shadow of his wunderkind older brother Jeb and empire-building Father. he makes Bush appear to be a real guy with understandable feelings. His religious convictions, love for his wife and career aspirations come off as genuine and easy to relate to.
all the actors nail the landing, resisting the urge to parody easy marks like Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Karl Rove. Instead, they bring depth by treating these CNN mainstays as regular people, with complex motives and emotions. well, MOST of the actors...Thandie Newton played Condoleezza Rice as if she thought she was doing a skit on The Dave Chapelle Show (and a shitty, DVD outtake skit at that). she clearly didn't get the memo the rest of the cast got, instructing them they were after "Oscar buzz, not Youtube hits"... besides that, the only problem i had with the film was trying to figure out why Stone wanted to do it now... why not wait until next year and make a film that encompasses his entire presidency? at any rate, i thought W. was a splendid film. i felt like it was actually fair to George W as a person, despite Stone's distaste for him as a President.
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