Caught Charlie Wilson’s War on HBO not too long ago, and enjoyed it for the most part.
Philip Seymour Hoffman rocked his supporting role as a hard-luck CIA desk jockey with eyes at helping Afghanistan in the Cold War, fighting the invading Soviet Army, earning all of those award nominations.
Mumbled voice and schlumpy mannerisms, Hoffman was excellent with a role that could have been dismissed as wise-cracking comic relief slash straightman guy, in this thinking-person’s comedic satire.
Instead he delivers his lines perfectly, as part of the character rather than dropping in one-liners here and there. It really gives an impression of the character, and the character’s dark sense of humor rather than the movie’s.
Tom Hanks was okay as the titular hard-drinking, skirt-chasing congressmen from east Texas. It was not that he was not right for the part, though he did not get the accent just so. Hanks has great comedic timing, was good with the lines and all, but the role did just not seem that well rounded, his motivation and commitment seemed sort of plucked from nowhere, or not very grounded for a biopic.
Julia Roberts was seriously miscast IMO as the BLONDE socialite from Houston. Rich and bored former beauty queen with an eye on politics, the role was too cartoonish with Roberts: blonde wig, hug red lips, etc. She did not embody the behind-the-scenes power broker, seemed too old and young for the part at the same time. The character was a well-monied pot stirrer to be sure, but I just think Roberts did not have the gravitas to play such a serious mover and shaker in U.S. politics.
The supporting cast of Amy Adams, Rachel Nichols, Shiri Appleby, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt, et al. were quite effective.
Charlie Wilson’s War (Amazon Link) was a little talky, with not enough background to sway the audience or fully inform them of the events depicted. There was too much warm up, not enough follow through, especially in tying it all into very relevant current events though that is Mike Nichols’ style choice here.
The Final Snark: the usual Aaron Sorkin, smug with its own smartness, bouquet of left wing Americana and patriotism and rah rah.