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W. (2008)

W. Movie

Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Thandie Newton, Jesse Bradford, Richard Dreyfuss, James Cromwell, Jeffrey Wright, Scott Glenn, Ellen Burstyn, Ioan Gruffudd

Director: Oliver Stone

Release Date: October 17th, 2008
Release Date: 7th November, 2008

Synopsis: In an unprecedented undertaking, acclaimed director Oliver Stone is bringing the life of our 43rd President to the big screen as only he can. “W.” takes viewers through Bush’s eventful life, his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.


W. Movie Trailer

About the Movie

W. is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life and presidency of George W. Bush. It was produced and directed by Oliver Stone, written by Stanley Weiser, and stars Josh Brolin as President Bush. Filming began on May 12, 2008, in Louisiana and the film was released on October 17.

Movie Reviews

Marty at the MoviesMovie Review by Marty Meltz

Quality – 8 out of 10

A powerful story about a very sad man. A tragic man who dragged his country down into that tragedy. This is one totally, relentlessly fascinating movie.

In many ways, “W.” is both an intellectual’s movie and a sentimentalist’s movie. But for sure, director Oliver Stone, in his interviews about his film in which he has insisted that Bush is a good man to be praised and thought well of — is being sly. For what he is portraying here is the man, George W. Bush, for whom no negative judgment is really called for but is plagued by a destructive negativity within himself.

Rather, the horror of the Iraq war with its well over 4,000 Americans and over 100,000 Iraqi men, women and children killed, plus half a trillion dollars in costs, is not so much a blame upon this pathetic unrecovered alcoholic who has been in way over his head to begin with, but to the Republican Party for ever having nominated him in 2000. He is not seen here as a man to be judged harshly, not an evil man in any way. On the contrary, he is here an almost pitiable individual depicted as confused, motivated at all levels of consciousness by his desperate need to meet the approval of his father.

W. is seen dragging down everyone associated with him for the simple reason that the office of President of the United States carries such intrinsic power that its potential attraction of persons to disaster is overwhelming.

In Stone’s treatment, mesmerizing focus is directed by way of ongoing close-ups of intense faces, gripping you, hauling you, hammering you, into a chilling realization of where this man W., always on the edge of the disabling energy of alcoholism, is taking the country.
Stone ingeniously weaves his sequences around George W. Bush as essentially a frat boy who never grew up, whose foggy motivations before a disapproving and condemning father rendered him as a grown-up boy blind to the intricacies of world politics.

The film opens with a moment just after 9/11 in which W. (Josh Brolin), in conference with Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn), Condi Rice (Thandie Newton), George Tenet (Bruce McGill), Paul Wolfowitz (Dennis Boutsikaris), Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright) and Karl Rove (Toby Jones), proclaims the “axis of evil.” It then flashes back to W. as a frat party boy striving to prove himself before his father (James Cromwell), who would forever be giving him stern lectures. Generally disoriented at this time over where he is headed in life, he gets scolded by his dad after one of his drunken capers lands him in jail.

While he’s running for Congress, he meets pretty Laura (Elizabeth Banks) at a party, and love blossoms. And now he aims for the Texas governorship in a quest to defeat Ann Richards (his campaign to defeat her, in reality totally designed by Karl Rove with ingenious whispering campaigns insinuating that Richards was a lesbian, and clever use of a variety of behind-the-scenes tactics and repetitions of catchy and damning sound bites, is not mentioned in the film).

Flash-forwards and flashbacks continue into the president W.’s obsession, and cluelessness, with Iraq (actually it was political strategist Karl Rove who had pressed the desirability of a war to get the electorate’s attention off Bush’s rapidly decreasing approval rating over his failure to capture Osama Bin Laden and divert it toward a scapegoat country that could “easily” be crushed). Many Iraq war scenes spell out the consequences of W.’s confusion over himself.

The film also deals with his hardly credible conversion to a born-again Christian.

But matters of elections, campaigns and business associations are totally omitted by director Stone in favor of focusing on Bush’s own personality quirks, recklessness and lack of security, all symptoms of an unrecovered alcoholic. His wife is patient, steadfast, loving and supportive, although how much she may have unwittingly enabled his condition is not shown.

Conflicts with his close advisers unfold with superbly riveting power, the impersonations terrific, especially Richard Dreyfuss’ as Dick Cheney.

You may be interested in reading the 2003 book “Bush’s Brain,” by an Emmy-Award winning author and a Dallas news bureau chief, the title referring to master political strategist Karl Rove, a man with profound contempt for the intelligence of the public, as Bush’s personal rudder from a nobody to the presidency.

Credit Oliver Stone for creating a universally smart and focused film which stays close in on the inner consciousness of George W. Bush.

Read More Movie Reviews at Marty at the Movies

'W.' Stars

Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Ioan Gruffudd, James Cromwell, Jeffrey Wright, Jesse Bradford, Josh Brolin, Oliver Stone, Richard Dreyfuss, Scott Glenn, Thandie Newton

'W.' Movie Links

Official W. Movie Website
W. on IMDb

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One Comment on “W.”

  1.   movie fan said on October 24th, 2008:

    Josh Brolin did a convincing Dubya, though he reminded me a lot of his cowboy character from No Country for Old Men… over all, i don’t doubt that ‘W.’ will have the effect Oliver Stone desired

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