Sunday, October 19, 2008
Bill and I saw Oliver Stone's "W." tonight. It wasn't a Bush-bashing movie, as I thought it might be, and I was a little disappointed that it wasn't. But it was interesting.
"W" is a light-hearted drama about Bush's (played by Josh Brolin) rise to the presidency. The first scene is in the Oval Office, where the term "axis of evil" is coined. When one of his advisers comes up with the term, he says something like, I like that...he-he-he! (he sounded just like Bush!).
There are flashbacks throughout the film: Bush's college years, alcohol addiction, his romance with Laura (played by Elizabeth Banks), and his conversion. There are a few jabs taken at him, and because of his obvious deep-rooted insecurities, "W." almost made me empathize with him. Almost.
Bush, for the most part, is portrayed as a good man who should never have been president. James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn play Barbara and Senior George, and it's obvious they both believe Bush's brother, Jeb, is their smarter son. Bush resents it, of course, and continually tries to get his father's approval. (He called him "Poppy," which made me sad, for some reason.) Cromwell looks nothing like Senior George; he just plays the part as a disappointed, concerned father. And it works.
There's nothing about 9/11 or criticism of his politics. This film explores who Bush is and how he got to be where he is today. Stone paints him as a good man with shady associates influencing him. That's true, of course, but I felt too much was left out, that he was a little too easy on Bush.
Brolin is very believable as Bush; Banks okay as Laura. But the portrayals of the minor actors aren't believable. (For one thing, Rove looked like Truman Capote. And acted like him!)
Richard Dreyfuss is excellent as Vice-President Cheney. At times, I felt he was Cheney...sneaky, cold-hearted, smirking. And Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice was great; she had that walking-on-eggshells look, that unsure voice. And those snake-like eyes (although she worked too hard at times to make them look snaky!).
The soundtrack and cinematography were great. But the scene where Bush choked on a pretzel should have been left out. I felt it was in very bad taste (no pun intended!).
Overall, I would say this film is worth seeing.
All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley