Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War (2007. Mike Nichols)

My friend Dan over at The Public Enemy hit this one right on the head with his brief but perfect write up for this film, which can be found here.

Charlie Wilson's War is a film that is good, becomes great at times, and almost becomes excellent but never really achieves it. I don't know what is off about it but my guess is that the shifts in tone through out the film from comedy to drama are at times executed perfectly (when Hanks first meets Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the middle of him handling a scandal on his hands) while other times it just feels forced and not funny at all (the pilots having a conversation about girl problems before getting shot down....HILARIOUS!).

The other thing which really hurt the overall quality of the film, at least to me, was what I felt was a rushed and sudden conclusion which makes the final scene feel extremely unsatisfying on every kind of level. I seriously had zero emotions during the final scene and I wonder if Nichols really thought he could achieve just that with an audience. It just feels like the exact kind of Hollywood ending that you would expect from such a film. Sure, it might have happened like that in real life but it just feels like a bad cliche.

Apart from it's flaws, Charlie Wilson's War does contain one of the best performances from 2007. Phillip Seymour Hoffman completely steals the show from everyone and every single scene involving him turn out to be the highlights of the film. The man is one of the best actors out there right now and this is only further proof of this. I would be pretty disappointed to see this film become an Oscar favorite and get a couple of nominations. However, the man deserves all the praise he is getting for this performance and he deserves a nomination for this performance. He really does make the film as solid and enjoyable as it is.

- ***

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