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W. (Full Screen) (2008)

A movie directed by Oliver Stone

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A Film That Will Gain Respect In Time

  • Feb 14, 2009
Rating:
+3
W. is a film not many people want to see or even discuss because of the subject matter - the career of the country's most unpopular President, the debacle of the Iraq War, and the decimated economy. There is a certain 'guilt' that comes with criticizing the leader of the country, from both conservatives and liberals: it is not polite to condemn our elected leaders. But now with the Bush legacy daily being pushed into the past (though the after burn of that embarrassing 8 years will never completely go away), it is time for biographers to examine why the Bush version of Presidential autonomy occurred.

Oliver Stone has examined Nixon and JFK on film and now with a terse script Stanley Weiser he summarizes the life of George W. Bush, from his early bad boy drinking years and inability to hold a job through his family collisions (brother Jeb being the obvious successor to George Bush, Sr.), to his bull headed drive toward absolute power to finish the war his father didn't finish - securing the Middle East oil fields to be held by American control by fabricating the infamous Axis of Evil and Weapons of Mass Destruction as drivers to light the preemptive blundering war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

In lesser hands this film might have become too prejudiced a view of a president. But Oliver Stone's technique of telling a story makes this film work: we see the rise and fall of a pitifully misguided man whose judgment and lack of intelligence brought us to where we are today. Much of the success of the film is due to the casting of Josh Brolin as W., James Cromwell as Bush Sr., Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as the terrifying Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Scott Glenn as Donald Rumsfeld, Toby Jones as Karl Rove, Bruce McGill as George Tenet, and a puzzling performance by Thandie Newton as Condoleeza Rice. Their characterizations are remarkable and give an insider's view as to the tehniques used to change a democracy into an oligarchy.

Many people may find this film either too biased and cruel (conservatives) or too watered down (liberals), but at least Oliver Stone has once again placed a key figure on the screen for us all to ponder. In time this film will be better accepted, once the smoke clears from the past 8 eight years. Grady Harp, February 09

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More W. (2008 movie) reviews
review by . May 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
W is mostly vintage Oliver Stone, an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush administration. What we're getting a lot of in W is the old Oliver Stone, the thorn in the right wing's side who fired off Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, and Nixon instead of a faceless name who in the last ten years has become irrelevant. Although the gun-shy Ollie Stone is still lingering for certain scenes in W, this is mainly the old Vietnam vet charging back into his old familiar turf …
review by . July 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I was a little hesitant to actually watch this movie.  I was definitely not a fan of George W. Bush and his administration while he was in office.  After having watched this film I don't like the man any more than before but I feel a little more empathetic toward him as a person.  If this movie is as accurate a portrayal of the life of Bush as Josh Brolin's acting was, then I would suggest all the haters to watch this and see that really George Bush was a kid trying to please …
review by . March 09, 2009
I never thought I would say this, but I was genuinely charmed and touched by the George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's poignant "W."  Stone and screenwriter Stanley Weiser have crafted a funny, illuminating story of how Bush transformed from college drunkard to U.S. president.  They have successfully humanized a widely hated leader and created a powerfully contemporary movie for an audience that has lived and continues to experience the reign of Bush. The film begins with a few clunky moments …
review by . March 12, 2009
This movie had no business being on the big screen. It was a made-for-tv movie if I've ever seen one.     The acting. Dear Lord, the acting! It's like a bunch of SNL rejects got together and decided to make a movie. No, worse- it's like the MADtv cast did. The actress playing Condi Rice did such an over-the-top imitation, when she spoke I wanted to shoot myself in the ears.... both ears!     Supposedly this movie was "sympathetic" toward the Bush administration …
review by . April 29, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
When I first heard about W., my initial reaction was that there was no way it could be a good movie. Oliver Stone is a good director who has sometimes made great films. However, when it comes to the Presidential movies he's made, JFK and NIXON, his record is atrocious. It's also a well known fact that Stone is not a fan of President George W. Bush and Stone isn't really known for keeping his politics out of his movies. I admit that the trailers for the movie piqued my interest, but instead of watching …
review by . March 08, 2009
W. Poster
When I started to watch this film I went into having high expectations for Josh Brolins portrayal of good ol' GW and for the most part I wasn't disappointed. What I was disappointed with was the writing. See, Brolin, though he really didn't look anything like Bush, acted him very well and sounded a lot like him. Now without trying to sound like I don't know Bush isn't the brightest guy in the world, it seemed like the writing made Bush out to be dumber than I think he actually is. I mean in this …
review by . January 17, 2009
Oliver Stone's latest film, W. is one that will, not surprisingly, attract a lot of controversy. How you feel about it will likely depend on your political views. Me, well, I'm a total flaming liberal, and I found the movie... enjoyable. Great, but not perfect.     The movie might as well be called "George W Lives in His Daddy's Shadow", since most of the movie centers around the feelings of inadequacy that young W feels. We see him going through hazing at his fraternity, running …
review by . January 09, 2009
Oliver Stone's latest film, W. is one that will, not surprisingly, attract a lot of controversy. How you feel about it will likely depend on your political views. Me, well, I'm a total flaming liberal, and I found the movie... enjoyable. Great, but not perfect.     The movie might as well be called "George W Lives in His Daddy's Shadow", since most of the movie centers around the feelings of inadequacy that young W feels. We see him going through hazing at his fraternity, running …
review by . October 17, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Oliver Stone's "W." is one of the year's most absorbing films, and that's because, as the tagline suggests, it reveals that George W. Bush has been greatly misunderestimated. Watching this film, we see not the forty-third President of the United States, the former Governor of Texas, or even a politician in general. From my perspective, we're being told about an insecure man who reaches too far in an attempt to earn his father's approval. This movie is not a political commentary--it's a character …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Oliver Stone’sW.is similar to his other movies about American presidents (JFK,Nixon), which is to say these films are much more about Stone’s imagined versions of reported events than they are alleged reenactments. As such,W.is Stone’s case for what he sees as the absurdity of George W. Bush’s ascendance to the White House and especially the arrogant blunder of the Iraq War. Josh Brolin is very good as the miscreant son of George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell), Vice President to Ronald Reagan and 41st president of the United States. Adrift in a sea of booze and squandered opportunities, the younger Bush is largely driven by a need for his disapproving father’s love and respect, which never truly arrives. Becoming a hatchet man for Bush Sr.’s administration, “W” (as his wife, Laura--played by Elizabeth Banks--call him) meets Karl Rove (Toby Jones) and heads toward the Texas governorship, despite his father’s preference that the more golden son, Jeb, get all the family’s support in his Florida gubernatorial bid.

Told in broken chronology, W. focuses on Bush’s post-9/11 path to waging a “preventive war” in Iraq despite no hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction to justify it. The major players in W’s administration--Rove, Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), and especially Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss)--all participate in closed meetings that look and sound like ...

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Director: Oliver Stone
Genre: Drama, Special Interest
Screen Writer: Stanley Weiser
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate
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