W. ****

Josh Brolin as George Bush in "W"

Josh Brolin as George Bush in "W"

Oliver Stone’s “W” portrays George Bush, the current president of the United States, as a man who lives in the shadow of the Bush name.  With the Iraq war, he tries to to something for American, as well as achieve a personal victory for himself.  We all know how that turned out in the end.  Here is a man whose life is portrayed on film, yet after it was over, was still a mystery to me.

The film opens with George (Josh Brolin) being initiated in to a fraternity.  His brothers have him knee deep in a wading pool, being drowned in straight alcohol.  This leads to many years of alcoholic escapades, usually ending up with George Bush Senior, bailing his son out of jail.  Through the years, Bush Senior will grill his son on making something of his life and stop chasing booze and women. 

Eventually he helps his father’s campaign for presidency, kicks the alcohol, and gets heavily involved with religion.  This leads up to his campaign for Governor of Texas, then eventually, the presidency.  The second half of the film chronicles the lead up to the Iraq war.  Surrounded by his advisers, they come up with reasons and strategies to declare war on Iraq. 

The cast are all very strong.  Some of the performances are startlingly life like.  Thandie Newton as Condoleeza Rice is spot on.  Richard Dryfus as Dick Cheney is probably the strongest out of the supporting players.  As for Josh Brolin, what can I say about this brilliant performance?  At first I thought he was a very strange choice to play George Bush Junior.  But he hits all the right notes, replicating all of Bush’s speech patterns and mannerisms perfectly.  It is a performance that should get him the nomination he was screwed out of last year by the Academy. 

As for Oliver Stone, I am very happy to say that he is back on his game.  This is his best movie in over ten years.  I am so happy to have him back.  After movies like “JFK”, “Platoon” and “Nixon”, we had to sit through movies like “Alexander”.

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