Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#88: W

Bill Clinton had done enough in office to become one of the most talked about presidents in US history. Little did the world know that as he gave way to his successor George Bush Junior, he would be passing on the baton of not just his chair but that talk as well. What he also must've not known is the unusually high number of books that would be spawned off his successor's reign. One glimpse at this list on Wikipedia and if you're upto it, you can have an entire library devoted to just the man. Stubborn and idiotic- who doesn't like a combination like that ? So it was of little surprise that a filmmaker of Oliver Stone's repute decided to spearhead a biographical project about Dubya.

Written by Stanley Weiser, W looks at the life and times of Bush Jr. right from his childhood upto his departure from office. Unlike a lot of those books, the movie looks at the Bush the man in his entirety instead of Bush the president making it seem like a sincere narration from the horse's mouth. The good amount of time Stone devotes to Bush's days in college and Bush Sr.'s apparent preference towards his elder son Jeb go a long way in making the viewer come to terms with Dubya's stint as a President and some of the decisions he takes for the country. This is a man who has been so reviled in the public eye that the writer and director employ a smart move in not letting his years as President occupy the centerstage in the movie. This is the proverbial difference between W and the others of it's ilk.

Josh Brolin as W sinks into the role fast as the movie progresses. One can make out that it's not something that is coming naturally to him but he does considerably well to make this a memorable performance. A particular scene that has him answering tough questions from the media at a press conference is nothing short of stunning. The movie also has a stellar supporting cast in actors like James Cromwell, Elizabeth Banks, Richard Dreyfuss and Thandie Newton that keep the movie above frivolity.

In spite of the serious effort that W is, it lacks in what I would like to call a killer instinct. In it's attempt to play safe, it tends to become uni-dimensional at times, playing out just for the sake of it. When you're watching it, you get the feeling that W is going to stop short of becoming good drama. And that's the only thing that's bugging about this one. Everything else is just about right in W. Even the name has a nice ring to it, doesn't it ?

Rating: 6.5/10

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