The Art of Covert “War”: Review for “Charlie Wilson’s War”

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Do you know who Charlie Wilson is? I didn’t think so. Well, neither did I. Though an unknown name compared to that of John McCain, Osama bin Laden, and others who are frequently in the news for their political views and sucesses, Charlie Wilson was rather famous in 1980. As a matter of fact, we are a little indebted to him. This movie, based upon the novel by George Crile, chronicles the order of operation put into by Charlie Wilson. At first, before his great success, we see him as a womanizing alcoholic who doesn’t really care that much about politics, until he sees something on the news about Communism in Iraq. And in that viewing of that little television program, he decides to help out…and in a very big way. He is helped by Texan socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts, fabulous as always), a very conservative right wing socialite. How rich is she, according to the film, she is the sixth ricjest person in Texas at that time. Also on his side is CIA Operative Gust Avrakotos (Phillip Seymore Hoffman), who would be Charlie’s right hand man. This is an entertaining and extremely engaging film, a little about corruption, a little about love, a little about politics, but all about knowing what to do. The cast is exceptional, which is no surprise when you have three Oscar winners anchoring the film (Hanks won two for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, Roberts won for Erin Brokovich, and Hoffman won for Capote). Amy Adams also is excellent, making a slightly underwritten role all her own. Her bubbly persona is perfect for the character’s optimism. Julia Roberts creates the Southern twang with ease and efficiency, making Joanne, who could have easily portrayed as being a complete jerk, a sensitive and caring character. Tom Hanks is quite wonderful as Texas Congressman Wilson, making a womanizing alcoholic into a hero. This film is very loose and easy, fun to watch more than once, and fits snugly into its 92 minute running time. With wonderful acting all around, and a fantastic script by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), a really good movie. You don’t have to be a political pundit to enjoy this entertaining movie.

Grade: A- 

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