Something strange has happened to Oliver Stone. While the man remains an immensely gifted filmmaker, the backlash from Alexander seems to have affected how he makes his films. The distinctly mundane World Trade Center followed that mess, as he carefully skipped around a touchy American subject - obviously wary of fanning the flames of controversy. With W., he paints a portrait of one of the most unpopular presidents in American history as an overachieving redneck with serious 'Daddy' issues - yet holds back on completely slamming him. Stone utilises flashbacks of Bush's debaucherous youth to convey an image of an indecisive and ignorant man, easily manipulated; yet somewhat paradoxically, also as a magnetic leader that average Americans could relate to. Portraying the man is Josh Brolin, an actor of undeniable talent; here, he thankfully avoids doing an out-and-out impression of Dubya, instead nailing his mannerisms subtly but effectively - bringing a boisterous charisma to the roll. It's a fantastic performance, and while it hardly evokes an outpouring of understanding, it paints an engaging and inherently real look at a deeply-flawed former alcoholic, who got drunk with power instead of booze. Even still, I can't help but feel that this is a missed opportunity, in terms of exploring the infinite faults during his tenure as commander-in-chief. 9/11 is barely touched upon, while Katrina isn't mentioned at all. Iraq instead hogs most of the screen time, as Dick Cheney and Karl Rove (both played with suitable sliminess by Toby Jones and Richard Dreyfus) act like devils on both of Bush's shoulders, with Colin Powell (a rock-solid Jeffery Wright) the only beacon of integrity at the centre. The real reason for Iraqi occupation, we're told, was not just to export democracy (something that has proven to be dangerous by history), but mainly so that America could control the flow of the majority of the world's oil around Iran. That isn't anything folk didn't already know, yet too much time is spent exploring it. Ultimately, while W. may spend a whole lot of time saying nothing in particular, it's never less than an interesting biopic of a regular Joe with his finger on the button.
The opinions expressed here are those of the viewer and do not reflect those of Entertainment.ie. Entertainment.ie accepts no responsibility, legal or otherwise, for their accuracy of content. Please contact us to report abusive content