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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘W’ provides balanced look into Bush’s life

    Oliver Stone is infamous for directing intriguing, but none-too-factual, films about America’s most influential public figures: Nixon, Kennedy, Jim Morrison, even Alexander the Great (although born a Macedonian, he was deemed an honorary American after getting it on with Angelina Jolie in 2004). Unlike these earlier biopics, Stone’s chronicle of George W. Bush in the new film “”W”” does not openly assault the president or lampoon him for cheap laughs, but provides a surprisingly balanced – though dry – interpretation of the president’s political and personal life.

    “”W”” opens with an oval office meeting shortly after Sept. 11, in which Bush (Josh Brolin) and his cabinet debate the phrase, “”Axis of Evil.”” For the next two hours, the film jumps back and forth through time in short vignettes showcasing Bush’s inebriated college years, early unsuccessful political attempts, his romp as a born-again Christian and ultimately his first term as president of the U.S.

    Josh Brolin has Bush’s voice and delivery down perfectly as he drawls out all our favorite Bush-isms including, “”I’m the decider,”” and “”Is our children learning?”” but he does more than merely parody our president vis-Çÿ-vis Will Ferrell on SNL. Through Brolin’s capable acting and a mostly objective script, Bush is not portrayed as an evil warmonger – though Richard Dreyfuss’s Dick Cheney certainly is – or a religious nut-job, but as a shockingly sympathetic child with a big name to live up to. “”W”” plays up the daddy drama angle extensively, showing some emotional scenes in which Bush Junior struggles for the approval of Bush Senior (James Cromwell), who consistently undermines and ignores his son.

    Though “”W”” has a message of sympathy, the subdued script and familiar material will not be powerful enough to change anyone’s opinions. Diehard Bush supporters will likely dismiss “”W”” as a total mockery that wasn’t worth the $6 wasted on popcorn; Bush haters will continue to hate after seeing “”W.”” They may, however, find themselves sympathizing with our president a little more than beforeð – after all, he has something very much in common with many Americans: he never really wanted to be president in the first place.

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