Monday, October 20, 2008
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks, Toby Jones, Richard Dreyfuss
MPAA: Rated PG-13
When I first heard that Oliver Stone was making a feature length film detailing the life of President George W. Bush, I was alittle skeptical. I mean out of all historic icons to base a movie off, why do one based off George W. Bush? I just wasn't convinced that Bush had enough interesting material to make a movie out of. I also wasn't sure if the movie was even going to get released in theaters. I thought it could end up like those direct-to-home video films since it was obviously going to be pretty controversial. Seeing as how I'm not a big fan of Bush, I was sure that this was a film I was going to avoid. Soon after the trailers started rolling, I slowly started to give in. It just looked pretty interesting.
W. takes viewers through Bush's eventful life such as his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush's decision to invade Iraq.
I'm not sure if everything in the film is true or slightly changed, but its very interesting nonetheless. Its told through a series of flashbacks that detail the life of Bush and how he came to be President of the United States of America. While the fact that Bush's earlier life may not sound interesting to people, but it actually is. The film details the early life of George W. Bush starting from the days of his alcoholism. You wouldn't expect someone like Bush to be partying and drinking when in fact he does...or at least he did when he was younger. The film also shows this father and son relationship that Bush had with his dad. This plays a key role in the film and is basically the main centerpiece of the films plot. It also works pretty well since we have wonderful actors playing these roles. While the film may be fascinating to understand, it can also tend to drag. I found alot of areas where the film dragged and became pretty dull to watch. The earlier parts of the film can be fun to watch, but later parts tend to drag. I know this is a heavy dialogue driven film, but even then I wasn't expecting this.
Josh Brolin plays as the main center piece of the film, George W. Bush. Brolin does a fantastic job playing this difficult part. No wonder Christian Bale dropped out of the film at the last minute, this isn't an easy role to take and I don't think Bale could have pulled it off. I think Brolin was perfect for this role and he definitely nailed it. James Cromwell plays as George Herbert Walker Bush a.k.a. George Bush. I think he played the part pretty great and I really enjoyed his presence, but I'm not particularly sure if he looks like the real George Bush. I thought Brolin somewhat resembled his character, but I just couldn't find any George Bush in James Cromwell. Elizabeth Banks plays as Laura Bush and she too is great. Even though she looks nothing like the real Laura Bush, I thought Banks played the part pretty smoothly and shes really gorgeous in the film. Toby Jones plays as Karl Rove and I generally enjoyed his role here. I also didn't detect any resemblance to the real Karl Rove, but at least Jones delivered a solid performance that wasn't distracting or bad.
The visual look of W. is simply great. The film was just released wide last Friday and its film source is pretty clean. I didn't detect any film grain and the image seemed generally smooth for the most part. Colors tend to be pretty vibrant from time to time. Darker scenes also tend to hold up pretty well with black levels staying strong with only a few scenes were it tends to look alittle muddy. Flesh tones are spot on and have that warm feeling to them. Detail is surprisingly good for a film like this. I wasn't expecting much from this film, but was surprised to see how good it looks. Close up shots show a good amount of detail and you can literally see the lines on Brolin's forehead. Their are a few scenes that are somewhat soft, but this is a good looking film for the most part.
The soundtrack for the film is somewhat lacking. The original music is done by Paul Cantelon and it really isn't that great. For a movie like this, I would have expected much more from the sound department. What we have is decent, but its hardly used enough. The film doesn't really consist of a score that's recognizable or stable. We do get many other music that is used often and sounds better than the films score. These different types of music go well with the film and are generally fun to listen to. W. is really really lacking in the bass department which doesn't come off as a surprise. For a film like this, you would have to be an idiot to expect much from the bass considering its a heavily dialogue driven film. What we get seems suitable and gets the job done, but it is by no mean reference material.
W. is an interesting film that sounded stupid on paper, but is actually better once you see it. I wasn't expecting much from this film since I'm not a big fan of Bush, but I was pleasantly surprised on how fascinating George W. Bush's early life can be. I thought the cast is great with Brolin delivering a performance that I thought was simply fantastic and maybe enough to earn an Oscar or two. The visual look of the film is surprisingly good for a film like this. Theirs a good amount of detail and clarity on most of the actors faces. The soundtrack is pretty disappointing since the films score just doesn't live up to what I was expecting. I actually enjoyed this film even though it was somewhat tough to get through simply because of how patient you have to be. Love him or hate him, but Oliver Stone's biographical film based on the life and presidency of George W. Bush is worth checking out.