By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Charlie Wilson's War
Charlie Wilson's War is interesting, but I want to see Charlie Murphy's War. Send Eddie's brother to Afghanistan to entertain them all with his true Hollywood stories.
Review: Charlie Wilson's War
Charlie Wilson was a congressman who got involved with aiding Afghanistan during the soviet invasion. His wheeling and dealing got them anti-aircraft weapons that they used to protect themselves from atrocities. And then nothing bad ever happened to us again.
What sets Charlie Wilson's War apart from the usual political history is its humor. They make it a point to show each character's quirks and have fun with them through action and dialogue so it never gets bogged down in "First this happened, then this happened, and then this happened."
It opens with boobies and butts, which shows Wilson's character right away. He's a partier, living up the congressman's perks. He's joyfully sexist towards his female coworkers. The '80s were a fun time.
Julia Roberts is hardly in it, which is fine by me. She has just enough scenes to show off her post twins body and log in a potential supporting actor Oscar. The banter between her and Hanks is fine. It's like a funny Tom Clancy movie, though you still can't follow where all the money's coming from. Guess they thought the how was less important than the who.
They frame shots to keep exposition interestingly. Your eyes are distracted by boots taking up inordinate frame space, or double mirrors. Then your brain absorbs the politics while you're looking at the interesting pictures.
It's not all fun and games. You see enough maimed Afghani children to feel bad. It makes you root for the Afghanis. The videotape footage is awesome. If that's real, you're totally lost in the thrill of explosions and you forget there were people in that helicopter.
For a year-end political "I told you so" movie, Charlie Wilson's War is good fun. I'm glad suits have humor in extreme situations. I'd be really worried if they were all serious about everything. Maybe if they can see what's ridiculous, they can call out the mundane in outrageous times.