5 Second Review: W.

Oliver Stone rushes out a biopic of the buffoon president of the USA. Barrel of laughs, surely?


  • Josh Brolin turns in an excellent performance as dubaya, getting everything from his voice to his inane winks and grins just right.
  • Many of the supporting characters are quite strong- particularly James Cromwell who resists the temptation of turning in a cheap impersonation of Bush Senior.
  • The film's tone is generally that of a serious biopic, rather than the all-out pisstake it might have been. And comes off better for it.
  • Bush is humanised. Much as we all love to hate the guy, he is a human being after all- and it's nice to see his public persona being put into perspective.
  • That said, the film doesn't treat him with kid gloves. Far from it.
  • I don't know what goes on inside the White House, but I'm inclined to agree with the movie's assertion that Dick Cheney is, in all likelihood, the devil.
  • At over two hours, the film is a tough slog. Granted, there was a lot of material to fit in, and a lot left out, but it's still too bloody long.
  • And to be honest, it's a bit boring too.
  • Several members of the supporting cast do churn out crappy caricatures. Tony Blair is wince inducing; and while Condoleeza Rice may be a bitch, she's not a cartoon character.
  • Some moments really jar with the tone. The inclusion of several 'Bushisms' reeks of effort, and these moments don't sit well with the apparent sincerity of the rest of the movie.
  • Fair enough, it's not a satire (even though it was kinda advertised as one), but if not- then what exactly is it? For a while I thought it was about a man living in his father's shadow, but that storyline doesn't really go anywhere... so after watching the entire thing I am still none the wiser.
An admirable effort from Stone to paint a full picture of Bush rather than simply take cheap shots at him. It's not what many people will expect, and it certainly won't be liked by everyone- after all, no one wants to think of Bush as human.

So boring as the film may be, it's nice to see that Stone isn't making the same mistake as W. himself by assuming everything is either black or white.

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November 12, 2008 at 12:28 PM Rol said...

Despite the lukewarm reviews, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately our local fleapit showed it for a couple of days and then replaced it with something that had more explosions. Guess I'll have to wait for the DVD.

November 12, 2008 at 12:54 PM Leigh O'Gorman said...

"Unfortunately our local fleapit showed it for a couple of days and then replaced it with something that had more explosions."

wonderful sense of irony in that...

November 12, 2008 at 3:31 PM JAMJARSUPERSTAR said...

I was kind of looking forward to W coming out but then I read in the Empire that the only good thing about it was Josh Brolin and got put off - maybe I should have more faith?
Cool blog anyway!


November 18, 2008 at 5:48 PM red said...

I saw this last month and drew exactly the same conclusions- especially concerning the point it was trying to make and thandie whatsit as condoleeza rice. oh well. more brolin coming along in van Sant's 'MILK'- looks interesting too.