Monday, March 23, 2009
W. Feature film. (2008, 129 mins) IMDB
. is a bio pic on the rise of George W. Bush. At it's heart is the relationship between father and son. In telling that relationship, the filmmakers show the progression of W. as a young university student bent on drinking and socializing, his struggle to find his place in life (a failure at so many things) to his rise as governor then president.
The other aspect of the story is the development inside the White House for the plan of war against Iraq--the drive to remove Saddam Hussein, to control the region and maintain the US dominance in the world.
The story weaves back and forth between the young, unknown Bush as he makes his way and the president in the White House as the administration puts their war plan together, implements it and suffers humiliation when no weapons of mass destruction were found.
Having read numerous books on the Iraq war planning I knew the story. Cheney et al manipulate just about everybody in order to start a war with Iraq, get rid of SH and control the region. There was nothing in the film I wasn't familiar with; however, for some I'm sure there will be revelations.
The personal life of W., the young W., was mostly knew to me and mildly interesting. It's one thing to have find your place in the world, but it's another thing when your father is George HW Bush--a man who excelled in school, athletics, business and politics. W. was a failure at all of them except politics--he figured out how to run for office and get elected (thanks in part to Karl Rove). The problem was he didn't have the needed skills once elected.
The acting performances, and the cast list is long, were outstanding. Dreyfuss's performance as Cheney was spooky, scary even. These actors embody the characters they are playing.
I don't know what to make of the baseball dream scenes that start the movie and end it. There are ample opportunities for "what if" and rewriting history, but it's a parlour game.
One thing that struck me in watching the film is the irony of the Iraq war. The feeling was the middle east and eastern Asia were and are unstable places in the world that threatened the strength of the US. Threatened it's stability and dominance. Threatened its economy. The irony is that what is bringing down the US, isn't external. It's internal. Policies on financial regulations, budget deficits and a monstrous national debt have weaken the US to a point where it will never be the same--even if leaders want to tell people otherwise. The US can't continue living on debt as they have been doing. Something has to change.
The film is well made, well acted, but only mildly interesting because it doesn't bring anything new to the plate, yet it is a film that should be watched.
I can hear the criticism now. It's Oliver Stone. He made it up. Nope. You can't shot down the message in this film by shooting down Stone. It won't work, but that's a tactic the right uses all the time in their arguments. Unfortunately people buy into it instead of understanding reason and logic. W. is closest thing to fact as you're going to get.
Posted 2009/03/23 at 03h24ET in Movie Commentary.