I found one review of this film that said Republicans would hate this film and Democrats would love it. I’m not sure how Republicans should feel about that statement, but Democrats should be insulted. Unless, of course, they are the insanely devoted Democrats who believe that President George W. Bush is the devil. Director Oliver Stone said they he tried to create a film that was politically neutral so he could present what he believed to be an unbiased film about our former president. What he ended up with was a 2+ hour slant of a film that panders to those Democrazies (just made that up) I just mentioned. The intelligent Democrats out there should be insulted because this film assumes they are just as stupid and narrow-minded.
The film is supposed to be a look at the ex-president’s life for the purpose of examining the reasons that led to his decision to invade Iraq. Right off the bat, the phrase that comes to mind is “too soon.” Not only was Bush still the president when this film was released (2008), but the war is still going now (2010). How was Stanley Weiser (writer) supposed to get any accurate information on something that nobody is going to talk about? After viewing the film, it’s painfully obvious that he was making things up as he went along. To make matters worse, Oliver Stone did not bring anything to the table to make the story even remotely compelling. The best thing either of them had as material is hearsay, conjecture, thirty-year-old drunk fraternity stories, personal political views and beliefs, and the so-called facts from the media (read: we don’t have time for facts).
According to Stone and Weiser, the film is intended to show us events from Bush’s past that led to the reasons for invading Iraq. The film delivers this information to us a piece at a time, jumping back and forth between the past and the present (present mostly being the run-up to the invasion, followed by brief glimpses at the aftermath). While this seems clever on the surface, not enough time is given to explore past events before jumping back to the future. It’s basically a really expensive version of one of those video montages you see at a wedding, except the wedding video provides context.
After watching this film, the viewer has not learned anything intriguing, new, or even interesting about Bush. All of the scenes involving his past revolve around Bush doing things to piss off his father, ranging from getting arrested to running for Texas governor. All of the scenes involving his presidency revolve around looking for a reason to invade Iraq with a bunch of well-known Bush quotes thrown into random conversations (that were not publicly recorded) for a hint of verisimilitude to convince the viewer that everything they see on TV is real. The only conclusion we’re able to glean from all of this is that Bush invaded Iraq because he has unresolved daddy issues. The proof that this is pure speculation is that no interviews were conducted with any member of the Bush family in the preparation and research of this film. That fact alone proves that this film never had a chance of being politically neutral.
The one positive thing that can be pulled from this film is that Josh Brolin, who played W., is either one hell of an actor or has been working on his Bush impersonation the moment he finished filming “Goonies.” He received heaps of praise for this portrayal and rightly so, though, I wonder if it was really all him. Besides Brolin, every character portrayed during the presidential scenes was also an impersonation. Unfortunately, Brolin was the only one who was good. The rest of the cast was awkward in some cases, overdone in others, and downright irritating in still others. I won’t bore you by naming each of them, but if you do decide to watch this film you can have fun trying to guess which ones get assigned each adjective.
The bottom line from this movie is that it basically amounts to a longer version of a “Saturday Night Live” skit. Stone was clearly more concerned with making the actors look and sound like their dopplegangers and forgot there was more to the movie. Though, like “Saturday Night Live,” it was completely devoid of humor with only a hint of talent mixed in.
Rating: I’m sure this movie was worth it for the Democrazies, but the rest of you should ask for your money back. Last time I checked, you can still watch bad impersonations and political sketches for free on Saturday nights.