Sunday, May 04, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

Judy and I both enjoyed Charlie Wilson's War, and not just because we live within easy driving distance of Wilson's old congressional district.

I'm not sure exactly how close the movie sticks to the facts of the case, but Charlie Wilson, inspired by seeing Dan Rather in a turban, gets interested in what's going on in Afghanistan in 1980. He eventually manages to get enough money to get enough covert aid in the form of guns and ammo to the Afghans to make a difference in their fight with the Russians. The problem, as we see at the very end of the film, is that after the Russian defeat, the U. S. does nothing to help the country rebuild. After spending a billion or two, a palty million bucks for new schools is too much to ask. So even the best of intentions can lead to unexpected consequences that aren't so good, and you all know what happened to Afghanistan after 9/11.

I'm don't always like Tom Hanks' performances (except of course in Joe and the Volcano), but he's very good in this, restrained and funny when he need to be. Julia Roberts is great, and so is Amy Adams as Hank's administrative assistant. Phillip Seymour Hoffman,
as a non-conforming CIA man, runs away with every scene he's in.

The movie runs under 90 minutes, and you have to pay attention. There are so many great lines in Aaron Sorkin's script that you don't want to miss one. Sarcasm, comedy, and some very dark material are all bound together in a package that's well worth seeing.

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