Though George W. Bush will thankfully not be running for office this year, director Oliver Stone is hoping that the president will bring in big numbers in a different sort of race: box office returns. Stone's latest biopic "W." will hit screens on October 17 across the country right in the middle of the campaign fever that is gripping this nation. While many Americans and people throughout the world might feel that the past 8 years of the Bush presidency have been like a horror film, many are curious to see what Stone's cinematic portrayal will be like. With over a week until its release, I can honestly say I have no idea. Fortunately, Variety (E's paper of choice on Entourage) released a review this morning to provide a glimpse into what we may expect from W. Here are a few of the highlights:
Opening with a post-9/11 cabinet meeting in the Oval Office in which the phrase “axis of evil” was concocted, then jumping back in time to begin a procession of key events in the life of a privileged party boy with something to prove, Stone and his “Wall Street” scenarist Stanley Weiser position the film, above all, as a father-son story.
Most scenes are devoted to illuminating particular aspects of George W. -- examined in pithy interludes are his recklessness, people skills, insecurities, reliance upon Laura, impatience, belief that good will prevail and unwillingness to deviate once he’s made up his mind.
One can’t say Brolin is George W. Bush -- the real one is still all too noticeably with us -- but the actor offers a more than reasonable physical approximation and an interpretation that’s convincingly boisterous and determined...
Along with Brolin, top performances/impersonations are provided by Banks, whose Laura Bush goes a long way toward clarifying the close marital bond; Cromwell, who may not be a dead ringer for George H. W. Bush but delivers the full intended force of his character in several key scenes; Toby Jones as the ever-present Karl Rove; and, despite hints at editorializing, Dreyfuss, who may only present a caricature of Cheney but seems so physically and attitudinally on the money that he’s instantly recognizable and acceptable.
Oliver Stone’s unusual and inescapably interesting “W.” feels like a rough draft of a film it might behoove him to remake in 10 or 15 years...
For a film that could have been either a scorching satire or an outright tragedy, “W.” is, if anything, overly conventional, especially stylistically. The picture possesses dramatic and entertainment value, but beyond serious filmgoers curious about how Stone deals with all this president’s men and women, it’s questionable how wide a public will pony up to immerse itself in a story that still lacks an ending.
So we'll have to wait until the 17th to find out for ourselves. Until then, take a look at W.'s trailer or visit the official website here.