Oliver Stone’s W. isn’t what it appeared to be in the trailer. It seemed like it would be a lightweight comedy/satire on Bush and his cabinet, slinging mud in their general direction. I was sad to find out, that this was not the case. It seems like this is more Alexander Stone, than it is, say, Platoon Stone.
I think most people aren’t quite sure what to make of this film. It comes across as more of a documentary than a satire, following the Bush family from when Jed and Dubbya are in their teens. It shows Dubbya’s inability to keep a job, his love of alcohol (all the way through is AA meetings), his tumultuous time while at Yale, all the way up through his elections, the first and second time. The problem is, none of it was really interesting. And since this seems to be a documentary, you have to wonder where Stone’s sources come from. He obviously tried to make it somewhat accurate, now all I can think about is, ‘where did he stray from the truth?’ I have the same question while watching Michael Moore documentaries, and believe me, it’s no fun.
Josh Brolin excels as both the younger, and older Dubbya, and does an impression that would put the SNL cast to shame. The rest of the cast was just as impressive, except for an oddly characterized Condolizze Rice, played by Thandie Newton. It almost seems like Stone’s purpose was not to defame Bush, but to expose Washington to be an exclusive ‘good old boys club.’ He also encouraged actual sympathy for Bush, as he’s clearly just searching for the approval of his father most of the movie. In the lower points of the plot, Stone sought after his laughs in cheap ways, like showing Dubbya on the toilet for no apparent reason. Thanks Oliver, that was hilarious. He also attacks the media for being such whores when it comes to who’s side their on one day, and who’s the next. And I’m not sure what Colin Powell did right, but for some reason, he’s portrayed as the completely levelheaded one. The film was uneven, it was unclear what the point was, who he was attacking, what is to be learned. It fails to leave any sort of lasting impression on its audience.