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  W. George Dub-yah Bush
Year: 2008
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Josh Brolin, Thandie Newton, Elizabeth Banks, Ioan Gruffudd, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Wright, Scott Glenn, Toby Jones, Bruce McGill, Dennis Boutsikaris, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Ritter, Noah Wyle, Stacy Keach, Brent Sexton, Colin Hanks
Genre: Drama, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It was only fitting, really, that, with the end of his presidency in sight, a film about George W. Bush’s term at the White House was released in late in 2008. The perfect opportunity, one might think, to openly bait a man who, let’s face it, ballsed up BIG time. But if you’re in search of something that desecrates the man who dug his own grave further, don’t look towards Oliver Stone’s biopic W (pronounced dub-yah, y’all).

Certainly when the centre of your drama, comes from a character like Bush, a man so endlessly quotable, it would be easy to take the low road and go for a full-on laugh-at-his-expense type of affair, but then there have been plenty of these elsewhere! Instead, Stone takes a look not just at the legacy of his duration in office, but at what made Bush the man he became…

Of course, what he became to the world was the man responsible for the so-called war on terrorism, which followed the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. As Bush (Josh Brolin) struggles with the decision of what to do next, the audience is offered snippets of his earlier life – mostly with drink in hand. Indeed, it would seem that a penchant for alcohol, first discovered during his fraternity days at Yale – yes, really – was to continue throughout most of his adult life, much to the disappointment of his senator, and later President, father – George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell).

No matter what he does, George Junior just can’t shake away the criticism from his father; unable to hold down a job, or go steady with one girl for a while, he is deeply disappointing in contrast to his younger brother, golden child, Jeb (Jason Ritter). All he wants to do is be part of the world of baseball, and he’s not even allowed to do that. Perhaps out of spite, or not knowing what else to do, Bush decides to run for the local elections, but now his so-called silver spoon upbringing is holding him back – can the man do nothing right?

Not without his better half it would seem, Laura (Elizabeth Banks), the first person to have even a whiff of faith in him. Settling down with his first lady sees him give up the drink, turn to God, and then turn back to politics… Once daddy fails to retain the heart of the public, despite his ultimate declaration of peace with Iraq, thus losing out on a second term in Washington DC, Bush Junior makes the decision to take his shot at the biggest job in the country.

Perhaps Laura wasn’t quite such a blessing after all; Gulf War part deux is undoubtedly one hangover he’ll never get over. Naturally we know how the story ends, that there is no happy ending for the man so desperate to finally make his father proud – even if it means taking his country to war – and yet W. makes for fascinating viewing.

For once we see a more vulnerable side to the man who led us all to an unjust war (keep an eye out for Ioan Gruffudd’s turn as ex-PM Tony Blair – not his finest moment on screen). Stone manages to make this no-hoper a human, not just some [insert own your own choice expletive here] that managed to screw the world over, whilst reminding us that it takes two to tango and a whole lot more than one to start a war; out of Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton) and their cohorts, it’s only Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright) that comes out, only slightly, sympathetically.

Loathe him we might, but for a man not good with words, George Dub-yah Bush sure brought us a lot of quotes. And now, with W., Stone has brought to us a story worth watching.
Reviewer: Hannah Tough

 

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Oliver Stone  (1946 - )

Didactic, aggressive and in-your-face American writer-director who, after directing a couple of horrors (Seizure and The Hand) and writing Midnight Express and Scarface, settled into his own brand of political state-of-the-nation films like Salvador, the Oscar-winning Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, JFK, Natural Born Killers and Nixon. Slightly out of character were The Doors and U-Turn: respectively, a celebration of the late sixties and a sweaty thriller. In 2004 he experienced his biggest flop with Alexander, a historical epic, but followed it with the reverent World Trade Center and a biopic of then just-leaving President George W. Bush. A belated sequel to Wall Street and gangster movie Savages were next. Say what you like, he has made his mark and loads of people have an opinion on him.

 
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