Friday, October 17, 2008

"W." (2008, Dir: Stone)

A turgid, unfunny political "epic" that offers us absolutely nothing new in the form of information, satire or emotional insight. Attempts at humanizing George W. Bush succeed thanks to a pointedly obvious script, but the direction is so self-indulgent and the humor is so forced (entire scenes, like the hazing one, are inserted just as set-ups for one try-hard "quotable" line). Nice cinematography, but that is one of the few things of interest here.

Josh Brolin will definitely get a boost in star appeal thanks to this role, but he gives an imitation when he should have given a performance. It's a dumb portrayal of a dumb person, and we never really get to see the film through Bush's eyes. We never get to see what he's thinking or feeling when such insight should have been the backbone of the film.

The supporting thesps nail their characters' mannerisms and appearances but remain emotionally distant. The best performances come from Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, projected a sinister aura from the edges of scenes, and Elizabeth Banks, who has some nice moments of introspection but has some trouble with the accent. Ellen Burstyn tries to command the screen during her few scenes, but just ends up looking like a show-off. Thandie Newton is impossibly ham-fisted as Condoleezza Rice, giving a perf that would be more at home in an episode of SNL. Jeffrey Wright, Scott Glenn and James Cromwell are all solid but prosaic.

A half-assed attempt at political discourse, and very boring.

1 comment:

elgringo said...

"A half-assed attempt at political discourse, and very boring."

I was heading out to see this today.
Now I'm going to stay in and watching something good. Thanks for taking the W. bullet for me.