Tuesday, October 28, 2008

W. - Movie Review

W. is a very good movie with an interesting problem.

When I say "very good", I don't mean "very entertaining." Stone has attempted to stay as true as possible to his source material - including The War Within, The Way of the World, and The Bush Tragedy. And while he succeeds at this, the story of a sad, flailing, intellectually limited narcissist who craves daddy's approval does not make for a rousing tale.

W. is a movie without an audience. If you've been paying attention to the last eight years, observing our president's actions with a critical eye, this portrait of a bumbling loser won't offer anything you haven't already seen for yourself. On the other hand, if you've got Rush Limbaugh on in the background as you're reading this, you'll see the movie as just another attempt by the liberal media to trash your hero. So who is it for?

I'll say this - Richard Dreyfuss was born to play Dick Cheney. He's nails that grandiose, evil weasel completely. Watching him manipulate Bush, then nod his head as W. reminds him that "I am the decider", is funny, instructive, and disheartening all at the same time. But that's not enough for me to recommend this movie.

I'm glad to live in a country where W. could be released, especially while Bush is still in office. You'd never see a similar movie made in Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, India, the Philippines. But that doesn't make W. worth watching. I wanted to make sure there was nothing new there...some previously uncovered bit of evidence to further damn him (if that's even possible) or cast him in a more sympathetic light. And there isn't.

I'll leave you with this quote from Stone:

Our next terrible president will not come wearing wolf's clothing or twisting a mustache. He—or she—will seem benign, friendly, and patriotic; someone who can convince us that the nuance of international relations is actually quite simple; someone with whom we'd want to have a beer. This is one of the main lessons I hope the film conveys: Will we recognize the next George W. Bush who enters national politics? Will we see the train wreck coming before we are in it?


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