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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    W: A Warm-Up for Audiences

    Oliver Stone’s “W” might not be a spectacular movie, but it is definitely a story much more interesting than George W. Bush’s reign. Filled with the right musical cues, slowed visuals and somewhat too many allegories, the movie does not pretend to be a documentary. Though in real life, Stone has referred to Bush as “the bum,” the movie is surprisingly more reverential than expected.

    Josh Brolin, as Bush, is dreamy as the 43rd President of the United States and perfectly migrates from one role to another — first as a partying college student, then an oilman, a golfer, a Christian, a son and husband, and even the politician. For all his bad years under the purview of his father, George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell) and mother, Barbara (Ellen Burstyn), he manages to redeem himself with Laura (Elizabeth Banks) and the twin wonders.

    The movie wants to move you, so it cares less for historical accuracy. The constant shifts between the supposedly wanton younger Bush and the wiser older Bush on the brink of the Iraq war, confuse us but also manage to generate ethos, which is enough to master a certain amount of audience.

    If there is one thing that faults the movie, it is that it never really manages to weave a complete narrative. For a movie that is 129 minutes long, you would think Stone would have had enough time to start and end on a high note. To be fair, he does. But something is lost in between this, and that is a continual narration. We get too many instances of Bush chugging vodka and not enough of what happens as Iraq unfolds.

    The movie’s end is anticlimactic, as it ends in 2004, providing no resolution for the Iraq war. Stone probably didn’t want to make another Sept. 11 movie, so he only glides over it, but this is the kind of commercial movie that calls for such story lines.

    This is not to say that the movie has no mastered moments. Richard Dreyfuss as Vice President Dick Cheney, is as good an impersonation as Thandie Newton as Condolezza Rice and Scott Glenn as Donald Rumsfeld. Newton’s tight smiles and Glenn’s pies in contempt of the president are some of the likeable directions.

    The movie never really makes the audience think. Too many tragic graphic images of dead American soldiers and Iraqis feel ill-placed among the negative portrayal of Bush that almost makes you laugh. Even though Stone will get away with its commercialized use, those most closely affected by the war will be nowhere as receptive as most and will take offense. Perhaps, a movie on the current President-elect might offend fewer.

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