Thursday, January 3, 2008
Charlie Wilson is great!
I went to see Charlie Wilson's War on New Year's eve, but with the new year starting, I forgot to post. As expected, given that Aaron Sorkin wrote it, I really liked it. I've seen several of the "war-themed" movies this fall, The Kingdom and Lions for Lambs, and CWW is by far the most fun and entertaining while dealing with important and timely topics. Charlie Wilson was a representative from a small district in Texas in the 1970s and 80s, that in his words "wants nothing", and gives him the opportunity to become a major power and influence peddler in Washington. He sits on the committee that authorizes funding for the CIA, which is at the height of fighting the cold war. Russians have just invaded Afghanistan and Wilson is starting to get involved. His foray into making a difference is aided by a rich, super-right wing Texas socialite, Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts), who is convinced that fighting the communists is the christian thing to do. Ultimately, Wilson and CIA agent, Philip Seymore Hoffman in all his scruffiness, find ways to convince the armed services subcommittee to fund a covert war against the Soviets by supplying the Afghans with weapons that will destroy the Soviet helicopters that are murdering the people of Afghanistan. Overall, the movie is very fast paced, with lots of quick jokes and tons of prophetic irony. Each of the characters has a pretty strong accent, and with Sorkin's words, some were lost, which will only make it more fun to watch again later. All of the acting performances are very strong, and you actually are drawn into the story enough to forget the huge celebrities acting on screen. There are lots of small nods to the future - Rudy Giuliani is the prosecutor investigating Wilson's alleged drug use - but they don't mention any specific terrorist threats to come, it's left to the audience to make the connections to the future. 4 of 5 stars for fun and explosive entertainment.
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