Charlie Wilson's War

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Jan 062008

Charlie Wilson's WarA drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson’s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

Director: Mike Nichols

Genre: Biography, Drama, War

Other: 1 hr. 37 min.; Release Date: December 21st 2007 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Shiri Appleby

We saw this movie last Sunday when Lay was feeling good enough to go out finally. I’ve always love Julia Roberts, and I don’t think Tom Hanks can make a bad movie, and Charlie Wilson’s War was not the exception.

It’s nice to see a film that shows flawed human beings rising above those limitations and doing important and laudable things. I was prepared for a simplistic “good guy, bad guy” treatment. I was entranced when that wasn’t the treatment. It also was refreshing that the stock “America is the bad guy” approach wasn’t taken. Mistakes get made. People are flawed. People have self interests and aren’t always completely altruistic.

Tom Hanks plays Charlie Wilson, a senator who in 1980 stumbled into a covert war to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan. How he stumbles into it and the various parties who coerce and assist him comprise the meat of the movie. Julia Roberts, the film’s weakest link, plays a Texas millionaire who serves as the catalyst for the operation. I wasn’t remotely convinced by Roberts’ performance, and she seems too young for the part, but the movie succeeds in spite of her. Philip Seymour Hoffman can’t help but steal every scene he’s in as a CIA operative in league with Wilson. And Hanks himself manages his good ‘ol boy role with aplomb.

This is one of the “must see” movies.

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