Saturday, March 01, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War

They Don't Really Have a Clue

We've seen the state of the world as it is in today, and movies like The Kingdom and Lions for Lambs have continued to paint scenarios that are based in the realities of today. But if you've ever wondered how events have unfolded to become what it is now, then you can probably look no further than Charlie Wilson's War for a quick, up to date summary.

Mike Nichols directs a stellar cast in this drama which is based on true life events of a US Congressman who, together with his associates, handled the wheelings and dealings of foreign policy and covert operations to assist the Afghanistan mujahedeens in their battle against the Soviet invasion. With casting like Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, rising star Amy Adams and the acclaimed Philip Seymour Hoffman, how can you not want to not watch the movie? And contrary to the very light, fuzzy comedic feeling that the trailer seemed to display, the movie is anything but.

It offers a lot of insights into the political landscape of the time, reinforcing the idea that things are not always what they seem on the surface, where enemies can become friends if they share a common goal, and that there are plenty of buttering and greasing palms in nice ways through owing of favours, and then returning them through various methods of support to push bills and the likes.

Tom Hanks hams it up as Charlie Wilson, the Texan Congressman with questionable morals who indirectly holds the pursestrings to the defence spending on covert operations, and through his rather paltry doubling of the budget, he slowly learns from Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), the CIA man, what exactly needs to be done in order to turn the tide for the Afghans. And leading the fundraising and awareness effort is Julia Robert's rich socialite Joanne Herring. Strange bedfellows, all of them, but everyone with their own agenda which converges and sends significant changes halfway across the world.

Charlie Wilson's War is a delightful movie to sit through, like a biography for all the characters involved in this episode in history that started the ball rolling, and because of the usual half-heartedness in seeing things through, we are where we are today. Containing plenty of slick lines of dialogue, the movie never bores, even though its presentation is a pretty straightforward narrative from start to end. For those who are a wee bit interested to know how it all started, and the intricacies in international negotiations, covert ops, and simply put, perception, then this is the movie to catch!

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