Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

This film is a strange mix of serious politics and light comedy. Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Mike Nichols, "Charlie Wilson" plays like an episode of "The West Wing". The dialog is fast and furious. Much of the political nature of the film may go over the head of the casual viewer. The story, however, is an amazing one especially when you consider it's based in truth.

Those expecting a light hearted romp with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts will be surprised by the turn of events when Congressman Wilson visits an Afghanistan refugee camp. The sights and sounds will shock the audience just as they do Charlie. It's that turn of events, spurred on by a wealthy Texas socialite (played by Ms. Roberts) that moves Wilson to begin a covert war aiding the Afghan people against the Russians. He is aided in his mission by a unorthodox CIA agent played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who steals every scene. Mr. Hanks exhibits both charm and gravity as Charlie Wilson. He's a terrific actor and both he and Mr. Hoffman are adept at inhabiting their roles.

The story is remarkable and will certainly hold your attention. The ending should anger you, especially if you stop and consider what has happened in Afghanistan since it's liberation from the Russians. The quote that closes the film could not be more haunting.

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