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W. [Import]

Josh Brolin , Elizabeth Banks , Oliver Stone    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Oliver Stone’s W. is similar to his other movies about American presidents (JFK, Nixon), which is to say these films are much more about Stone’s imagined versions of reported events than they are alleged reenactments. As such, W. is Stone’s case for what he sees as the absurdity of George W. Bush’s ascendance to the White House and especially the arrogant blunder of the Iraq War. Josh Brolin is very good as the miscreant son of George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell), Vice President to Ronald Reagan and 41st president of the United States. Adrift in a sea of booze and squandered opportunities, the younger Bush is largely driven by a need for his disapproving father’s love and respect, which never truly arrives. Becoming a hatchet man for Bush Sr.’s administration, “W” (as his wife, Laura--played by Elizabeth Banks--call him) meets Karl Rove (Toby Jones) and heads toward the Texas governorship, despite his father’s preference that the more golden son, Jeb, get all the family’s support in his Florida gubernatorial bid. Told in broken chronology, W. focuses on Bush’s post-9/11 path to waging a “preventive war” in Iraq despite no hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction to justify it. The major players in W’s administration--Rove, Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), and especially Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss)--all participate in closed meetings that look and sound like every investigative account by the New York Times or Bob Woodward about the administration’s inner workings leading up to the war. Much of this is quite fascinating if a little weird (Newton’s performance is indeed strange), but the drama is often powerful, particularly around Powell’s resistance to the rising tide for a supposedly slam-dunk war. A number of the film’s key performances, besides Brolin’s, are very strong, especially Cromwell, Jones, Wright, Dreyfuss and Bruce McGill as George Tenet. --Tom Keogh

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Brolin/Banks/Burstyn ~ W

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons revealed. Feb. 21 2013
By Bug
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie shows why GWB always sounded a bit, crazy. It's a good movie. Josh Brolin was excellent. The cast is really good as well. It's Oliver Stone after all so take everything with a grain of salt.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars worthwhile extras on blu-ray July 31 2010
Josh Brolin is uncanny in the title role and leads an impressive list of excellent performances in W (including Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Wright, James Cromwell, Ellen Burstyn etc.). The portrayal itself may be a touch sympathetic, and the film unfortunately doesn't offer anything new for those familiar with the media hypothesis. Similarly, Oliver Stone's flashback style is utilized to blatantly explain the character. The blu-ray is fine with extras that include deleted scenes, director's commentary, a couple of interesting featurettes (especially Dangerous Dynasty: The Bush Presidency), and the filmmaker's research guide. Anyone with an interest in this era of political history might better appreciate the extras over the film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Compelling, Likely Accurate Sept. 6 2012
By S.H.
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Generation of sympathy for G. W. Bush is a difficult pill to swallow, yet this film endeavours to tell truth, and in the process invariably portrays someone out of his element, a pawn in the hands of swifter operators. Entertaining, sad, and somewhat frightening all at once.

Well-done. Oliver Stone does *not* deserve criticisms for this effort; it is not a hack job.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Gerald Parker TOP 500 REVIEWER
The two-terms long Presidential Administration of George W. Bush, Jr., was among the most iniquitous political broods of vipers in history postdating the First World War, in the U. S. of A. or elsewhere. Because of that, it is hard to evaluate a film about Bush without it becoming a Rorschach blot for one`s own sensibilities concerning that brutish quasi-troglodyte himself and, as well, his malevolent Svengali-like chief accomplice, Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was even more mendaciously cynical and venile than the other members of Bush`s cabinet; as well to account for, as Oliver Stone`s film does so to too slight extent, is the equally trigger-happy, pro-Zionist, and profiteering innermost coterie within the Pentagon during Bush`s time as president.

Such coteries, of course, burrowed themselves elsewhere into the various branches of U.S. goverment and within the Civil Service, often establishing therein platforms for private gain (when "conflicts of interest" too seldom even were acknowledged), for suppressing competition, for "neo-con" manipulation of information, for circumvention or even outright elimination of publicly beneficial regulation (especially of financial institutions), and for skewing policy and its enforcement to their own favour and to the political, diplomatic, and military fortunes of their neo-con ideology. Stone alights fleetingly and obliquely upon some aspects of this here and there in his film, which, however, is far from emphasising the motives of personal enrichment as, under Bush Jr. and under Obama, the U.S. has been morphing into militaristic, autocratic kleptocracy.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars W is a W - inner! March 13 2009
I had a preconceived conception of George W Bush before I saw the movie. Who doesn't? Son of a rich man from a rich family, a slacker, a drunk, a failed business man etc. etc.
However, as I watched the movie I was encouraged to delve a little deeper into the man's inner being. What I saw there was a boy of whom not much was expected, an accomplished family joker looking for attention, and who grew up and became the President - against all the odds against him - and used his newly found power of the Office to do whatever he wanted. No one could tell him what to do!!! Finally!!!
This is another of Oliver Stone's thought-provoking, and phsycological biographical epics, and definitely worth the time to watch it!
Well done, Mr. Stone
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