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Hiep Thi Le,
Tommy Lee Jones,
Haing S. Ngor
Oliver Stone's biographical take on the life of George W. Bush, one of the most controversial presidents in USA history, chronicling from his wild and carefree days in college, to his military service, to his governorship of Texas and role in the oil business, his 2000 candidacy for president, his first turbulent four years, and his 2004 re-election campaign. Written by
I used to be an Oliver Stone fan. But after Natural Born Killers I read in an interview that he had doubts about continuing his directing career. "I don't think I have another good movie in me".
Well, I still think that he does, but W. isn't it. The reason I like and watch Oliver Stone films is that he has a strong opinion about a subject. One that isn't mainstream, but expresses it in such a way, that he wins his audience and therefore can change popular opinion. The best examples for this are Platoon and JFK.
Oliver Stone makes a decision with this film which I do not like. The life and times of George W. Bush offer enough subject matter to make a powerful, semi-documentary film with hard hitting political and religious views that would sturr up popular belief. But instead of going for the jugular, Stone takes W. on his knee, pats him gently on the head and says: "I know, son. I get it." The film has all the elements that make W. the infamous guy that he is: the invention of axes-of-evil, God is on the side of good (The US of A), W.'s history of failed business, tale-chasing and alcohol abuse. Add the wheeling and dealing by the Bush-dynasty and you would think it's dynamite stuff.
But it's not. The script is superficial. Tame at best. Stone is not good at satire and this film shows us why. Anyone who reads the Sundaypaper and watches the nine-o-clock news could have written this movie. It has the character motivation of a soap-opera. The father-son relationship for me was totally unbelievable. I expected a true depiction, with close source material. But it has become an imagined portrait by the screenwriter. Another thing that disappointed me was the lack of insight into the kitchen of the (right-wing) Bush-Administration, more over: the infiltration of the Hawks in the White House.
This film doesn't add anything new or reveal any new insights. The movie is based on research done by outsiders. I knew every detail of this movie because I am up to current events. I don't want a summation and lovable depiction of a man who is responsible for eight very defining years of US foreign policy. I wanted new insights, make me doubt my own beliefs and discuss this with friends and on message boards. The end result has me shrugging my shoulders and saying: Eehh..., so what?
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