Review of W. Directed by Oliver Stone and written by Oliver Stone and Stanley Weiser
When I first heard that Oliver Stone was planning on making a movie about George W. Bush, while he was still in office, I didn't think it was a good idea. Now that I've seen the film, I still don't think it was a good idea. This movie is weak in every way, except for the performance of Josh Brolin and even here I had some issues.
If I were to sum up this film in one word it would be "annoying." Let's start with the actors. Everyone of the actors play caricatures. I didn't for one second believe any of them, including Josh Brolin who spent fifty per cent of the film with either food or a bottle in his mouth. Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright as Condolezza Rice and Colin Powell tried to do imitations of the people they were playing and it didn't work. Frank Langella, who played Nixon in Frost/Nixon, was believable. Going back to Josh Brolin he had the look and mannerisms of George Bush nailed, but he wasn't believable either. I saw him as an actor trying to play someone. As I said before, he spends a lot of the film eating and drinking on camera. Problem is a lot of the time you can tell that he's just going through the motions. He'll put a bottle to his mouth and pretend like he's taking a sip, but it's obvious that's he hasn't done anything more than a stage actor might do in a play.
The direction by Oliver Stone was also lacking. There wasn't a single scene where I felt like I was watching a story unfold. Instead, I felt like I was watching a bad movie being made. Did we really have to have a scene of George Bush and all the other supporting characters walking together on Bush's ranch, especially when only two or three of them have anything to say? Could he not here in his headset how annoying Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright sounded when they spoke? Did he really think that there was a need to show George Bush sitting on the toilet wiping himself?
This film is on the level of a bad TV movie of the week. There were only two performances that I felt were not overacted: Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush and Ellen Burstyn as Barbra Bush. I also give credit to Oliver Stone for including an audio commentary. Unfortunately, I couldn't stand to sit through the film again so I skipped around.