Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MOVIE: CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR



about: Charlie Wilson's War is a 2007 biographical drama film adapted from George Crile's 2003 book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. It is directed by Mike Nichols, written by Aaron Sorkin, and stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Ned Beatty. It was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, including "Best Motion Picture", but did not win in any category. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Supporting Actor," but did not win.

Charlie Wilson (Hanks) was a bachelor congressman from Texas who had a habit of showing up in hot tubs with strippers and cocaine. His "Good Time Charlie" exterior, however, masked an extraordinary mind, a deep sense of patriotism and a passion for the underdog, and in the early 1980s the underdog was Afghanistan--which had just been brutally invaded by the Russians.

Charlie's longtime friend and patron and sometime lover was Joanne Herring (Roberts), one of the wealthiest women in Texas and a virulent anti-communist. Believing the American response to the Russian invasion was anemic at best, she prods Charlie into doing more for the Mujahideen (Afghan freedom fighters).

Charlie's partner in this uphill endeavor is CIA Agent Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), a blue-collar operative in a company of Ivy League blue bloods. Together, the three of them--Charlie, Joanne and Gust--travel the world to form unlikely alliances among the Pakistanis, Israelis, Egyptians, arms dealers, law makers and a belly dancer.

Their success was remarkable. Funding for covert operations against the Soviets went from $5 million to $1 billion annually. The Red Army retreated out of Afghanistan. When asked how a group of peasants was able to deliver such a decisive blow to the army of a superpower, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq responded simply, "Charlie did it."




my review: Charlie Wilson's War is like having some of the best actors of all time performing in a high school play. Since it's based on a true story I was surprised at how thin the movie's story was. The filmmakers must have realized that there wasn't much to this true story, so thats why you have Mike Nichols directing, Aaron Sorkin writing and actors like Hanks, Roberts, Hoffman and Adams starring.

They all do a great job too and especially Sorkin with his trademark political comedy dialogue. But the movie is just so short on plot and ends so abruptly that you just sit there and go "Was that it?"


my rating: 6 out of 10


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