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  Publicity Stills of "Charlie Wilson's War"
(Courtesy from UIP)

Genre: Drama
Director: Mike Nichols
Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Ned Beatty
RunTime: 1 hr 37 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: NC-16
Official Website: www.charliewilsonswar.net

Opening Day: 28 February 2008


"Charlie Wilson's War" is the true story of how a playboy congressman, a renegade CIA agent and a beautiful Houston socialite joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history. Their efforts contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, with consequences that reverberate throughout the world today.

Movie Review:

For the sake of this penning this movie review, this writer shall disclose that he is the last person to show any sign of interest when it comes to politics. At this juncture, you can almost sense how readers are seeing him in a different light – what an ignorant fool!

However, thanks to movies like critically-acclaimed politics-themed movies like All The President’s Man (1976). JFK (1991) and Malcom X (1992), he is not left in the cold when social gatherings call for occasions to talk about these important political figures.

So when Mike Nichols (Closer) makes a movie about Charles Nesbitt "Charlie" Wilson, a former Democratic representative best known for his leading the Congress in supporting the largest CIA covert operation in US history, you can bet this reviewer is going to be there to watch the picture and learn some quick facts about this man.

Based on a 2003 book written by George Crile, this movie sees the Texan congressman being affected by the helplessness of the civilians suffering in the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s. In a move that is contrasting with his womanizing ways, the man supplies the Afghans with weapons to defeat the invading Soviet Union troops.

As the 97-minute movie is based on a true story about warring states, there are some somber lessons to be learnt here. You will walk out of the theatre reflecting on the notion that there are no true victors in wars, and someone has to pay the price at the end of the day. But before you think that this is going to be one solemn movie to sit through, you will be in a pleasant surprise because, to put it simply, this is one entertaining experience you will enjoy.

You may not be familiar with American history, but there is no doubt the appeal factor will get to you before the movie’s halfway mark.

Director Nichols has brought together a stellar cast that definitely helps in attracting viewers. First, we have Oscar winner Tom Hanks (The Da Vinci Code, The Terminal) who can do not much wrong in whatever role he plays. Here, he plays the titular Charlie Wilson with ease, making you laugh with his likable character, envy him for his numerous women surrounding him, and empathize with his vision about saving the world. Then there’s the always reliable Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Savages, Capote) who plays a fiery CIA agent who aids Wilson in his mission. The Oscar winner’s highly engaging performance has earned him another nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the upcoming Academy Awards. Also, you may have noticed a third Oscar winner in the concoction. Julia Roberts (Closer, Ocean’s Twelve) plays Wilson’s supporter in the campaign who does not have as much screen time as her co-stars, but leaves a good enough impression that she still has got what it takes. Rounding up the interesting ensemble is Amy “Enchanted Gisele” Adams and Emily “The Devil Wears Prada” Blunt in supporting roles.

Coupled with a wittily smart script and a crisply fresh pacing, the movie is another lesson in politics presented on the big screen with big names that will attract apolitical viewers like this writer.

Movie Rating:

(The entertaining movie is an engaging political lesson which will appeal to the masses)

Review by John Li


. Lions For Lambs (2007)

. Rendition (2007)

. Bobby (2006)

. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

. Capote (2005)

. Jarhead (2005)

. All The King's Men DVD (2006)



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