Thursday, February 7, 2013
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR (2007)
In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson is a womanizing US congressional representative from Texas who seemed to be in the minor leagues, except for the fact that he is a member of two major foreign policy and covert-ops committees. However, prodded by his major conservative supporter, Houston Socialite Joanne Herring, Wilson learns about the plight the people are suffering in the brutal Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. With the help of the maverick CIA agent, Gustav "Gust" Avrakotos, Wilson dedicates his canny political efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with the weapons and support to defeat the Soviet Union. However, Charlie Wilson eventually learns that while military victory can be had, there are other consequences and prices to that fight that are ignored to everyone's sorrow.
This film drifts by at such a brisk pace. IT’s hard for any of it to really stick. The film is only 90 minutes long and it was a thick book. Making the film feel like a book report on the book, more then a film adaptation of it. A greatest hits package if you will. It seems like this film was a case of it’s too bizzare to not be true. I know it is hard to tell the full story and include all the nuances and complexities.
It might have made a better miniseries that Tom Hanks is fond of making. Instead of a rather short feature that while informative feels like it’s missing something. It also makes the film feel like a realistic slick, glib production. That seems like it was a reason for the stars to get paid and hang out. Though there is nothing challenging for anyone involved, Tom Hanks does a good job at conveying a flawed but likeable character and it’s a joy to see him use his clout and stardom to actually try to be an actor and play a character instead of always playing the same likeable moral upstanding guy. he also appears to be having fun with his performance which I have not seen from Mr. Hanks in a while.
Though obviously he is having fun, Hanks comes off as a class act as always. He is an actor’s actor truly deserving of his stardom the same goes for Philip Seymour Hoffman, who does exemplary work as Gus the C.I.A. Agent who is burned out and in charge of this particular operation. Seen at first as a non important put out to the pasture job until it gains heat and becomes a vital operation gaining speed as it goes along. It’s only a shame because he creates this character, Who while funny seems like he is from another better film. His sturdiness and serious nature among all the more silly characters is what makes him funny.
This film almost tries to be like a screwball comedy. Have a mountain of pages of dialogue spoken very quickly and eloquently. So i would say it is a smart genuinely funny screenplay. It’s a fascinating story. It feels like a satire but is based on fact.
The only weak part is Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring. She certainly makes the movie star entrance but strangely seems like an intruder in this film like she doesn’t belong. She feels more like a caricature in a movie with characters. It certainly shows the extent of her acting abilities, but then again her position in the film seems weird no matter what actually happened in real life. I guess it adds to the quirky nature of the true story. Remember the line from PULP FICITION that said “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character.” It applies to here to her. She is capable and she gives it the old college try, but doesn’t make her mark.
The film comes off as too laid back there barely seems to be any passion or effort put in. In another filmmakers hands maybe the film would have been more hard hitting and emotional as it plays now. Everyone is having fun yet it’s giving a high budgeted more comedic recollection of events that play like reenactments then anything. The film feels too smooth and laid back. Doesn’t feel like there are any real stakes. Feels like a production not a film. It moves briskly and is fun. It is an enjoyable film and a little educational too.