Friday, June 25, 2010

Review – Charlie Wilson's War

One of the criticisms of Kevin Costner’s performance in JFK was that his approach to the role transformed a Confederacy of Dunces story into a half-baked Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Same problem here. Tom Hanks at least tries for a warts-and-all portrayal of Wilson by including the congressman’s addictions to sex and alcohol. But he still comes across as a basically decent guy trying to do the right thing. I just couldn’t get past one big fat omission – or perhaps “brief mention” would be a better description – in the story. We get an hour and a half of Wilson’s heartfelt, Reagan-era struggle to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan, but the end of the movie only briefly notes that what we accomplished with more than a billion taxpayer dollars was the transformation of the mess from the Russians’ problem to our problem. Decades later, Wilson’s “victory” continues to consume American lives and resources. That deserves more than a brief “oops” at the end. On the other hand, I enjoyed Philip Seymour Hoffman as the CIA operative who seems to be the only person in the whole thing who actually knows what’s going on. Mildly amusing

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