The cultural wrangling that Oliver Stone has immersed himself in is pretty shocking. Really, what aspect of American life can he work with next?
W, notable for being released during the presidency of G.W. Bush as opposed to after it, ends up feeling like a farce as much as the filmic distillation of a man.
Josh Brolin does turn in a strong performance, overall. It is, of course, difficult to watch him pretending to be a man that every American has scrutinized and known for so long. But that’s what draws in viewers here as well. Brolin’s performance, which spans every part of Bush’s life, does so with an attempt at seriousness, but during interactions with various characters really does seem comedic. These instances don’t detract from the feeling of the flick overall, but do occasionally interrupt the viewers ability to be completely sucked into the film.
The tone of W isn’t overly positive - it is a critique if nothing else. And from that stand point, Stone really doesn’t offer up too much information that’s unique or ground breaking. In past efforts, like X and JFK, Stone’s work has asserted some point of view that doesn’t mesh with how a political time or occurrence is generally understood by the masses. But after eight years of G.W. Bush, every American can recount each political caveat that gets treated here in W. There are some that are glossed over, or omitted all together that could have served to enliven the proceedings, but the film clocks in at around two hours already. And really, who wants to watch a three hour film about an out-going president?
This film isn’t a low point, or even a missed opportunity. It seems though, that Stone was as concerned with preserving a historical perspective on this film as he was adamant about giving viewers new ideas in his previous projects. W could have ended up being much more incisive than it was, but that really may not have boded well for the film maker. All of that really makes W a good watch as opposed to indispensible. But if Obama makes it to a second term, hopefully, Stone will have some more aggressive and interesting points of view to disseminate to movie goers.