Review: W

By Gerald Aaron, November 6, 2008
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Josh Brolin as Dubya

Josh Brolin as Dubya

Keen followers of politics, particularly those of the United States, might feel a tad short-changed by Oliver Stone's latest take on an American president after JFK in 1991 and 1995's Nixon.

There are more than a few omissions in screenwriter Stanley Weiser's dramatisation of the life and early misadventures of George W Bush. And, patently, a satisfactory ending is absent since a lame duck W will remain in office until next year.

Stone's and Weiser's position seems perfectly clear. They enjoy mocking George W Bush, charting his wild life from his days at Yale, clearly enjoying the alcohol-fuelled humiliations of initiation into a fraternity, through short-lived jobs working on a Texas oil rig and on Wall Street, courtesy of his father's influence and his excessive drinking and womanising (activities which drive George Sr to inquire sarcastically, "What do you think you are, a Kennedy?") until, in his 40s, he finds God and conquers the White House as the 42nd President.

Unfortunately, W ultimately emerges as a mostly dull history lecture dominated by two excellent performances. Josh Brolin is superb as George W, relishing the character's patent character flaws and struggles with the English language - it is Oscar-worthy acting, as is James Cromwell's flinty George Bush Sr.

Thandie Newton, too, deserves praise for her impersonation of Condi Rice, Jeffrey Wright and Richard Dreyfuss score respectively as Dick Cheyney and Colin Powell and Ioan Gruffud supplies comedy with his ludicrous turn as Tony Blair.

Interesting? Yes, in parts. Informative? Dubiously. Entertaining? Not particularly.

    Last updated: 2:59pm, February 18 2011