Saturday, January 19, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

If you step into an Aaron Sorkin-scripted film, then you came to listen. Sorkin is a master of constant, free-flowing dialogue, but that’s all for nothing if you don’t understand what the hell the actors are talking about.

Tom Hanks has a little fun playing real life Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, who in 1980, funded Afghanistan troops with weapons to attack their Soviet suppressors. It’s nice to see Hanks playing a care-free, womanizing, alcoholic, who sometimes dapples with cocaine, he hasn’t strayed this far from his poster-boy image for years.

Directed by Mike Nichols, Charlie Wilson’s War sends an overabundance of words the viewer’s way, if you aren’t paying close enough attention to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s spit-fire CIA agent, then you may miss out on his incredible performance, the best part of the film.

Julia Roberts plays a wealthy Texas woman who, for reasons I apparently missed, wants Wilson to begin the funding. Roberts, smiling in her bikini shot and amusing us with her eyebrows, lives up to the demands of the part, which are short of nothing.

The film plays more as an R-rated history lesson than an entertaining romp on political satire. The problem is trying to find (or accept) the film’s lesson. Audiences may not want to sit through 95 minutes of sympathy for a country that currently plagues our society . Its abrupt ending doesn’t help matters much, only leaving the viewer to guess what the left-sided filmmakers are trying to accomplish. B-


  1. Even when Hanks is playing outside poster-boy, doesn't he feel like the safe packaged version of the bad guy? I mean, you can't not root for him.

    1. Yeah, I'd agree with that wholeheartedly. Even when he's kind of an asshole (say in Road to Perdition), you can't not like him.