W.

"Terrible"

W. Review


As President Bush's second term winds down and the race for 2008 spins at fevered pace, now is the time to make a statement -- reflecting on the failures of the current administration and projecting our hopes for the next.

Oliver Stone's W. is not that statement.

With characters as shallow as W.'s nicknames -- Poppy, Rummy, Vice, to name a few -- Stone plots a confused course following George W. from a directionless, silver spoon frat boy to his absent-minded presidency. At best, W. is just as glorious a failure as Bush's administration.

Ripped from Stone's crazed political perspectives, the story bounces back and forth from W.'s (Josh Brolin) hell-raising youth -- drinking and driving, smoking and screwing -- to the events leading up to the Iraq War, interspersed with a meaningless baseball metaphor/dream sequence. The disjointed plot line works for W.'s youth, as Stone elliptically cuts the flashbacks to emphasis W.'s alcoholism and over-inflated ego -- creating a genuinely unlikable, one-dimensional caricature. Supported by a stream of whiskey bottles and failed careers, the flashbacks' negative view of W. sets the film up for a full-on assault of an older President Bush. Then, in the blink of an eye, Stone unapologetically cuts to an irate President Bush raging against his cabinet of masterminds that seemingly duped him into an unwinnable war. Why should we care about this lame-brained alcoholic?

We don't, and neither does the cast. Without a solid stance on the character of W., there's nowhere for Brolin to go, and he's forced merely to deliver Stone's and writer Stanley Weiser's unfunny jokes. To muddle matters further, the rest of the ensemble cast has the same problem. Gen. Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright) delivers anti-war soliloquies, supported by emotion-evoking (or exploiting) melodies, while the Saturday Night Live-style Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton) delivers her lines like a Muppet Baby. Without any guiding line of character, we never invest anything into them. We never sympathize with W. and we scoff at Stone's vision of the Extreme Right, helmed by Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) and Rice. It's a huge shift when Stone tries cutting into the meat of W.'s character -- his relationship and feelings toward his father. But Stone offers a bite that's too big to swallow; we can't give W. that because it hasn't given us anything in return.

While the more contemporary Iraq War story line seems to inject some life into this mess, if apathy has leaked in at any point over these eight difficult years and you stopped paying attention, good luck keeping up with the plot. Sure, the big strokes are there, but the details -- and fictionalization -- of how Bush's cabinet may have manipulated him are just as mixed-up as the film's characterizations. After the fifth slow motion shot of W. looking stupid (usually involving Christ imagery -- arms outstretched or lights like a halo over his head) or another montage of Iraq bombings set to old-timey, light-hearted folk tunes, we've stopped looking for the point and started looking for the exit. Stone can only juggle so many characters and plot lines -- Bush's presidency, his youth, his relationship with Bush Sr., the blind egotistical drive -- before it comes crashing down as a boring cinematic mess. If we're lucky, we make it out of the theater before Bob Dylan's "God on Our Side" plays over the end credits; Stone adding more insult to injury by wielding another artist's statement over his own impotent production.

Meeting Accomplished.



W.

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 129 mins

In Theaters: Friday 17th October 2008

Box Office USA: $25.5M

Distributed by: Lionsgate

Production compaines: Ixtlan Productions, Emperor Motion Pictures, Global Entertainment Group

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 125 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Bill Block, , Paul Hanson,

Starring: as George W. Bush, as Laura Bush, as Barbara Bush, as Tony Blair, as Condoleezza Rice, as Dick Cheney, as Donald Rumsfeld, as George Herbert Walker Bush, as Colin Powell, as Karl Rove, as George Tenet, as General Tommy Franks, as Jeb Bush, as Ari Fleischer, as Rev. Earle Hudd, as Speechwriter #1, as Fraternity President

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.