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CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, 2007
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CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR MOVIE POSTER
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR
Movie Reviews

Directed by Mike Nichols
Starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Review by Eli Manning


SYNOPSIS:

A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

REVIEW:

Most of the recent films Iíve seen about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq showed me how tough these situations are (were), which may be why so few of us have bothered to go see them. Of course all wars are terrible, but good movies have a way of making it entertaining and thought provoking while also showing the dreary and madness of the situation.

That the gist of Charlie Wilsonís War. The most entertaining picture you'll see that deals with the bloody, protracted fight between the Soviet Army and the Afghan mujahedeen. As the film observes, that fight, in which the United States semi-secretly armed Muslim anti-imperialist freedom fighters for much of the 1980s, was a prequel to later trouble with anti-Western Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and elsewhere. And on and on we go.

The theme of this film is that anyone can take action but be aware of what you begin because when things build its momentum, then many others who join to fight your fight carry the same passion but have different beliefs and ideas for its conclusion.

This is the best politically themed movie to come around in a while because the director, Mike Nichols, and the screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, grasp that politics, for all its seriousness, is an essentially comic undertaking. They are masters in this genre as no other has done it better than them.

The good guys in this film are the ones who know how to have a good time. They are sharp, quick on their feet personalities who also live life to its fullest (or foolish), drinking, partying and partaking in a lot of sex. With heroes like these, how can we not like them.

There are three main characters in this film, all played extremely well by Hollywood royalty. Tom Hanks plays Texas democrat Charlie Wilson, a master of the political world with many character flaws. Hanks plays this character like the grownup version of his Bachelor Party role. Julia Roberts plays Joanne Herring, the rich savvy wannabe world saver. Barbara Stanwyck is an obvious tribute to this character. This could be Roberts best role yet. And the third party participant is Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a C.I.A. operative whose first appearance in Charlie Wilsonís office sends the movie tipping, momentarily and deliciously, into pure door-slamming farce. Hoffman is always spectacular.

This is a cheer filled movie that touches on the pains of the world only once in a while. It's ending isn't that happy as the world continues on and Charlie Wilson is just one person who can only do so much.

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