W. (2008)

W. is the new movie by Oliver Stone, which was released directly to TV, at least here in Austria. It chronicles the life of George W. Bush from his college time to the end of his first period as president of the United States in 2004.

w-oliver-stones-bush

Unfortunately, because it was released on TV only, I was only able to see it in German, which of course takes away from the acting experience. But even so, the cast was phenomenal. Especially, of course, Josh Brolin as W, but also Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, James Cromwell as George Bush senior and I hardly recognised Thandie Newton, who portrayed Condoleezza Rice. But I could go on and on with the name dropping – it really is a very good cast.

The film has been strongly criticised for being too soft on Bush, for being too sympathetic with such a controversial figure. I can’t agree. It shows that the guy actually has a brain, yes, but that in itself isn’t really an endorsement. Because of the criticism I didn’t expect the film to be as objective as it was. Of course, it was still more satire than a documentary, but it wasn’t completely one sided.

[Although it does portray Bush as a weakling with a father complex.]

bush

The make-up is really good – the cast really looked like their real life counterparts.

I liked how some more famous bushism were included in the dialogue, but also quotes from other people (Rumsfeld, anyone?).

Suprisingly, Oliver Stone was kind of insecure in his directing. There a few very good shots, but some scenes were really fidgety. Like he didn’t really give us his A-game.

But apart from that, it’s a solid movie and can easily be recommended to people interested in US politics. I’d even go so far as to say that if you’re interested in US politics and the Iraq war, it’s a must see. But if not, well, I guess you would be bored most of the time, as you wouldn’t get the references and the bigger picture.

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