Sunday, December 30, 2007

Movie Review: Charlie Wilson's War

Charlie Wilson's War - PosterMovie Title: Charlie Wilson's War
Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Om Puri.
Directed by: Mike Nichols
Genre: Drama/Biography
My Rating: 8.5/10

Based on a novel, based on a true story, edited for movie content, and viola - you have this movie called Charlie Wilson's War. However, this movie was released at a time where most people care less about how Afghan people got anti-aircraft missiles and rocket launchers to kick the Soviets out of their country. All people care about these days is kicking ass and having less sympathy for Afghan and Arab people due to the unfortunate disasters occurred in the last 6+ years. However, I will keep my political commentary off this blog.

Hanks excels as Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, a morally gray and womanizing politician with a soft spot for Afghans suffering at the hands of invading Soviets in the early 1980's. Julia Roberts, in a wonderful and exceptional return, plays a former playmate centerfold who now runs a feminist group while living a millionaire lifestyle in Houston, TX. Along with a CIA outcast in Hoffman, they find backdoor methods of assisting poor Afghans fight back the Soviet Russians. In Hollywood, there's one simple rule: if a current or former country was a baddie once, they'll always be a baddie on-screen. A touching masterpiece based on facts set in the past and shows some light side of politicians is very likely to be an Oscar contender, and that's exactly where I see this piece heading. It already has Golden Globe nominations!

Due to the political sensitivity of the movie's subject, I'll jump to the praises in production and acting. This has to be Mike Nichols' best work till date, even though Closer wasn't a bad movie, it was carried mostly by the excellent actors. In Wilson's War, too, the movie was carried superbly by the lead and supporting actors. Besides the Oscar-worthy Hanks, Roberts and always promising Hoffman, Amy Adams acted very well as Hank's administrative secretary, the most dignified and least skimpy out of the rest of his young-woman-dominated workforce. The only surprise cameo was by British actress Emily Blunt who plays a lobbying sexual decoy, an odd role after she overshadowed the lead in The Devil Wears Prada. Indian actor Om Puri too excelled as the then Pakistani dictator-president Zia Ul Haq who took over presidency after staging a coup d'etat, which is common in that unfortunate nation. Puri surely deserves more recognition in Hollywood. He is already a successful actor in the UK and one of the most respected in his native India.

8.5/10. Countdown to the Oscars. Not for the narrow minded type. Keep an open mind about politics and history, you may just enjoy this masterpiece.

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