Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's Give War a Chance

Charlie Wilson’s War

Release: 12/21/2007
Rated R
1 hour, 37 minutes


One of the shortest (and shortest-titled) films opening this holiday season is this inspired-by-a-true-story flick. Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) plays the title character, a six-term Texas Congressman in the late eighties who used his charisma and connections to influence various committees into covertly backing the Afghanistan people in their war against the Soviet Union.

Writer Aaron Sorkin (*The American President) adapted the George Crile book based on these true events and director Mike Nichols (*Primary Colors) molded the story into a mesh of memorable scenes and historical footage. These scenes center on Hanks who seems to vie for the title of Scene Chewer Numero Uno against Philip Seymour Hoffman (Punch-Drunk Love). Julia Roberts (Closer) is good, as always, but her role as the highly influential Joanna Herring is little more than a glorified cameo. The frank discourse between Hanks and Hoffman is chock full of great lines, and the matter-of-fact honesty in their dialogue reinforces the emotion and inspiration behind this covert war.

Nichols keeps “War” moving along, delivering a tightly packed and quickly paced film. Nichols focuses on the screen-filling presence of the great actors with their witty quips and strays away from them only to show the contrast with the Afghanistan plight or let the audience gander at Charlie’s knack for attracting beautiful women.

Dirty Undies

Speaking of, not in a while have I wanted to see a woman get buck-ass naked more than when I saw Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada) parading about in her unmentionables. I always heard the hype surrounding her sexiness, and now I get it. It is a disappointment that she doesn’t bare all, but there are some other topless females and we get a nice butt shot from what I assume to be Hanks’ body double. Sadly, the finest of the ladies; Roberts, Amy Adams (Enchanted) and all of Charlie’s Angels are provocative, but not gratifying in that nude sort of way.

Hoffman talks as sleazy as he looks with the expletives barely slowing as they tumble from beneath his bushy upper lip. Even Hanks tosses about the occasional F-bomb, but he can’t compete in a battle of vulgarities against the Hoff.

This film is surprisingly graphic in its depiction of the destruction and slaughter of the Afghanistan people. It’s not as detailed as torture porn or even a run-of-the-mill action movie, but the violence was more than I had expected to see.

The Money Shot

“Charlie Wilson’s War” offers up a nice perspective on how we (as in the US) got here in terms of our current embroilment. It establishes this perspective amid jokes, beautiful women, and great acting in a way that makes you forget the seriousness of the subject matter. Besides, it has been a rare occurrence of late to discover a dud Hanks film (“The DaVinci Code” not withstanding), so why wouldn’t you give this film a whirl?

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. Great film. Philip Seymour Hoffman was brilliant as usual.

    My sources tell me that those are genuine Hanks ass cheeks on the screen.

  2. Really? I just assumed Hanks had moved beyond the need to run around like Harvey Keitel and opted for a buns double.

    PSH is phenomenal and unstoppable right now. Watching him here makes me wanna wipe the dust off my "Boogie Nights" and "Big Lebowski" to see his earlier work.