2008-01-11 / Community


'Charlie Wilson's War' - Winning War The Fun Way
Review By Robert Snyder

President Bush has it all wrong. He shouldn't have renounced his partying ways and waged war by playing it straight.

He should have done what former Congressman Charlie Wilson did: Have fun with booze, broads and drugs, while securing big bucks to beat the bad guys overseas.

According Director Mike Nichols, actor/co-producer Tom Hanks and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the 1980's war in Afghanistan between the Islamic mujahadeen rebels and the Russians was won almost single-handedly by a slick party-hearty Texas Democratic House Representative. Played by Hanks in his "Bachelor Party" mode, Wilson raised a billion dollars to covertly buy stinger missiles with which the rebels shot down Soviet attack helicopters. This sent the never-before-defeated Russians back to the motherland to watch the U.S.S.R. continue to crumble like a deck of cards.

Though barely mentioned in the movie, President Ronald Reagan had something to do with the end-of- Soviet-Union scenario. In fact, the only Republican official who is prominently mentioned is none other than current Presidential Candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani. At that time, he was a government prosecutor out to bust Wilson on drug charges because the congressman was spotted cavorting, boozing and drugging with naked Playmates and strippers in a Las Vegas Caesar's Palace Jacuzzi (the film's opening scene). In context with what we now know about the candidate's past indiscretions,

Giuliani appears hypocritical. Admitted Liberal Democrats, Nichols,

Hanks and Sorkin seem to have an agenda with their politically-pointed "Charlie Wilson's War," arriving as presidential campaigning heats up hotter than Global Warming.

A fun film for the most part, "War" features an entertaining performance by a hard-drinking, womanizing Hanks. Along for the wild ride is Julia Roberts as right-wing pro-Jesus, anti- Communist Joanne Herring, a Houston socialite and sex object, who knows where the bodies are buried and the cash is stashed. Philip Seymour Hoffman portrays frustrated, but effective C.I.A. operative Gust Avrakotos. He becomes Hank's sidekick, navigating the story through complex geo-political waters, which threaten to sink it.

The film has a decidedly downbeat coda, where Wilson's unintentional fumble of "the endgame" leads to 9/11 and Iraq.

Still, for those who want to believe war should be waged in a fun way under the radar, "Charlie Wilson's" may be for you.

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