Welcome to the movies at PS News.
Each week, PS News’s film critic Victor Rebikoff will highlight the latest offerings from the silver screen and share his expert commentary for our information and guidance.
Director: Oliver Stone, Emperor Motion Pictures, Rated PG, 129 Minutes
Acclaimed film director, Oliver Stone, continues his trend of producing movies featuring US Presidents.
After producing a film on Kennedy (JFK in 1991) and Nixon (Nixon in 1995) he has brought the much anticipated biopic on the controversial life of the 43rd President of the United States, George W Bush to the screen.
Stone’s skilful direction of W is to some extent a political satire, providing insight into Bush’s eventful life.
It shows Bush (performed convincingly by Josh Brolin) in many stages of his life from dealing with being the son of a future President (played by James Cromwell), finding his faith and his future wife, Laura (Elizabeth Banks), and finally on reaching the presidency and his decision to invade Iraq.
Josh Brolin is excellent in his portrayal of Bush and is superbly complimented by a great supporting cast.
There are also stand-out performances by Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell, James Cromwell as George Bush Snr, and Richard Dreyfuss who brilliantly emulates the former Vice President, Dick Cheney - down to his folding arms stance.
As for Thandie Newton, she is hysterically funny as Condoleezza Rice, eliciting laughs just through her facial expressions.
What makes W so enjoyable is Stone’s clever technique of having the audience not only look at Bush as a clumsy and naïve President, but more importantly on how such a person was able to ascend to the world’s highest office - in particular the improbability of a Bush Presidency that lasted over two terms.
Admittedly Stone’s movie (which was released just as Bush was leaving the Presidency) was only able to scratch the surface of the man who defined an eight year period of controversy and instability, and certainly does not achieve Stone’s previous successes in his depiction of US Presidents in JFK and Nixon.
Overall, Stone’s movie has still been able to deliver an entertaining and factual story through the use of many historical news reports while lacing it with good characterisations and humour.
It provided a fair and balanced portrayal of George W Bush as a simple-minded person who, from Stone’s point of view-and many others, was never really cut out to be President of the United States.
VIC'S VERDICT: 3 ½ Rubber Stamps