Charlie Wilson's War

2008-05-12 08:08
What it's about:

The 1980s American congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) was best known for his way with beautiful ladies and hard drugs, and is probably best remembered for his role in the largest covert operation in America's history. With the help of a very wealthy and influential woman (Julia Roberts) and a seedy CIA agent (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Wilson was able to secure American funding and arms for Afghanistan to eradicate Russian assailants from their land.

What we thought of it:

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in a lavish 1980s film, with the hair, the clothes, the high life and those strange Texan accents – you can't get any better than that.

The era of power dressing, soap operas and that silly little battle of the minds – The Cold War – come across beautifully on screen. The wit and silky charm in the dialogue engages you immediately, while Hanks seems to get the fundamental aspects of Charlie Wilson's character down to a T – his ability to avoid trouble despite his bad habits, his love for the underdog, his womanising ways, his dependence on whiskey on the rocks and his persuasive talents.

But the film has flaws. Firstly, nothing concretely romantic comes of the relationship between Hanks and Roberts, despite hints towards such an ending. The second and more serious problem is that Charlie Wilson's War is a propagandist film. It tells the story of The Cold War from an exclusively Western angle, with no attempt made to show the communist viewpoint. The Russians are explicitly demonised with their only screen-time a scene in which two Russian air-force fighters chat about their many women as they kill Afghan women and children below.

Problematic and biased, but beautifully made, Charlie Wilson's War shows how much one person can achieve – but any intelligent and informed viewer will also be uncomfortably aware of the terrible long term consequences of any war, especially one of an ideological nature.

- Natalie Sineke

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A political drama, retelling the true story of congressman Charlie Wilson's covert operation in Afghanistan.

Smellycat 2008/03/05 12:06 PM
Charlie Wilson's War I honestly cannot agree with the star rating of this movie – While I’d love to stay off the political soapbox, the reviewers seems to miss it completely. One can only assume that the Mike Nicholls must have used the stereotypes of Russian fighters/Afghan people/ridiculous shots of Afghan people hooraying and high fiving while shooting down planes as irony and commentary on America’s current state and using weaker nations for their own gain. However with the general IQ of most American film-goers I think this was completely lost and the movie instead comes across as pro-war. Championing Americans again as liberators while only a couple of years later the same Afghans that they liberated from Russia they abandoned and then bombed to hell after 9/11. Julia Roberts hair is so OTT that it harms her performance while Tom Hanks get the sleezy politician turned Samaritan down to T – but he’s character development in lost in silly montages and ultimately left to wither in the final scene wher
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