Monday, October 19, 2015

w. (2008)

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Stanley Weiser

Composer: Paul Cantelon

Starring: Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Wright, Toby Jones, Colin Hanks, Dennis Boutsikaris, Thandie Newton, Scott Glenn, Richard Dreyfuss, Bruce McGill, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Ritter, Noah Wyle, Elizabeth Banks, Rob Corddry, Stacy Keach

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A life misunderestimated.

Plot: Oliver Stone's biographical take on the life of George W. Bush, one of the most controversial presidents in USA history, chronicling from his wild and carefree days in college, to his military service, to his governorship of Texas and role in the oil business, his 2000 candidacy for president, his first turbulent four years, and his 2004 re-election campaign.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

 W fans will love only the first half of film while W detractors will love only the second half.  While I could've done without the few, and very brief, moments with W standing in an empty baseball stadium, I loved how the film gets off to a smart and fascinating opening scene with him in the Oval Office discussing what to do after 9/11.  I was hooked.  There is a lot of flashbacks and flashforwards and they work well.  You get to see the evolution of not only the man but of his post-9/11 presidency and the WMD debacle.  The performances are largely pretty damn solid.  Thandie Newton's (as Condolezza Rice and Richard Dreyfuss' (as Dick Chaney, who has some uncanny moments of looking and sounding just like the guy) accents aren't consistent which is a shame since they're both talented actors.  The supporting cast is great and I'm most impressed with Brolin as W.  He's fantastic.  If you close your eyes and just listen to the first ten minutes you'll be amazed at how easy it is to think of the people instead of the actors.  Stone does a fine job directing the picture and it's nice to see him not be showy like most of his films are with different scopes of film and flashy techniques.  It's a good picture.  I have no idea how much of it is factual and how much artistic license was used but they way it's put together here, it makes sense and it follows a logical path.  The Lionsgate DVD comes with two extras that are worth a spit.  One is a commentary with Stone and the other is a 16-minute piece on George W. Bush and his handling of post-9/11 events and the war.  Then there's the theatrical trailer and 5 minutes of Lionsgate films (all anamorphic widescreen).

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