Wednesday, October 29, 2008

W (2008)

I was chomping at the bit to see W. I expected controversial but encountered a slow and jumbled disappointment lacking a pulse. The cast was thoughtfully put together. Josh Brolin is super as an empathetic and witty W. You forget the actor and see only the character. James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn depict the opposing natures of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush. Elizabeth Banks is a sultrier version of Laura Bush. Jeffrey Wright is entertaining as General Colin Powell against the axis of evil: Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton) and Karl Rove (Toby Jones).

The story begins in present day. It's told in flashbacks that begin at W's college days when he's rushing a fraternity at Yale. We learn about the drinking, the brushes with the law, the issues with Poppy, meeting Laura and the events leading to his political career and the Iraq Invasion.

The flashbacks jump back and forth too much. Knowing how it ends, what do we have to look forward to? It suffers from lack of build-up and surprise. I learned Bushie trivia but after the first hour, I was clock watching and hoping I'd seen the last of Thandie Newton as Condi Rice. I'm not a fan of Condi, but Newton is a caricature (social commentary perhaps?). Each time she spoke, I was taken out of the moment and reminded I was watching Newton delivering an imitation. Newton's body language as Rice was authentic but her voice was irksome. This sounds like the Hollywoodland review (there were similar issues; however, Hollywoodland was better).

Not knowing if some details were fact or fiction, I searched for the research/info Oliver Stone collected for the film. I found W. The Official Film Guide. Regretfully, the site was more compelling than the movie. If you insist, see a matinee. Better yet, wait for the DVD.

Director: Oliver Stone

Country: US

Genre: Drama/Bio

Minutes:  130 minutes (seemed much longer)

Scale: 2

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