CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR MOVIE REVIEW
Charlie Wilson is quick witted, big hearted, and charming. And so is Charlie Wilson’s War. Mike Nichols’s (The Graduate, Closer) story about the “Freedom Fighters” and Charlie’s fight to protect Afghanistan from the Soviet Union is fast paced, funny, and eye opening. The cast is remarkable with everyone holding their own.
Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) is a Texan Congressman. He likes women and booze equally. He isn’t really taken seriously. When he sees a news report on Afghanistan and how they are being invaded by the Soviets, he becomes interested. So when he is contacted by Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) who wants him to do something about it, he meets the president of Pakistan. He implores Wilson to visit the refugee camps. What he witnesses astonishes him. When he returns he has his assistant get in contact with the CIA. They send Gus Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an agent who isn’t high up on the totem pole. They don’t hit it right off but Wilson’s charisma and Avrakotos’s determination helps them find common ground. They set off on a quest to find weapons that will shoot down the Soviets’ helicopters and not be identified as belonging to the U.S. This leads them to interact with Pakistan, Israel, and Egypt. And in addition to their international relations they must convince conservative congressmen to give them the budget to do so.
The story is based on the true story of Congressman Charlie Wilson. It is about one man who found a country that he wanted to help. It is the story of the underdog. It has funny moments, sad moments, and triumphant moments. All of these moments hinge on your belief in these characters. With winners like Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, it would be hard to go wrong. Tom Hanks can be the everyman because he IS the everyman. You like him no matter what. You see this man’s charisma and why he can get favors from anybody he wants. And its funny when you see his office filled with pretty, well endowed women as his assistants, not chauvinistic. Julia Robert’s as Joanne Herring is simply fabulous. She is Joanne, not Julia Robert’s the movie star. Every scene with her and Tom Hanks is a delight with their chemistry smacking you in the face. They play well off each other, obviously enjoying each other. The same goes for Hanks and Hoffman. Wilson and Avrakotos don’t love each other but have a mutual understanding. The scene where they first meet in Wilson’s office is hilarious and filled with great comic timing.
The story is good. The acting is good. But the visuals in the movie left something to be desired. Every scene where Afghanistan was being attacked by Russia was poorly done. They all look like footage from a videogame. Even CGI would have looked better than this.
As previously stated, the combat scenes were terrible. It was hard to be horrified by what these people were going through when it looked so phony. The scene where Charlie goes to the refugee camps and meets them is more effective and sad.
With a story about an underdog, an excellent cast, and a renowned director, Charlie Wilson’s War is a film not to be missed. It shows that one man can make a difference, even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you hoped for.