Monday, April 21, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Revisits Exploits of Texas Congressman Who Single-Handedly Toppled the Soviet Union

Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks), who served from 1973 to 1996, is apparently an unsung hero responsible for toppling the Soviet Union virtually single-handedly. For it was through his funding of a covert CIA operation in response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that the mujahedeen managed to defend themselves successfully while simultaneously bankrupting the U.S.S.R.
What is ironic is that Wilson, the architect of the operation, was not only a liberal Democrat, but a loose cannon who didn’t let the fact that he was married get in he way of his flagrant boozing and womanizing. Among his many mistresses was a wealthy socialite named Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts), and their lustful liaison was proof of the age-old maxim that politics makes strange bedfellows, literally and figuratively.
She was a conservative, Christian fundamentalist who pressured her boy-toy to get the CIA to intervene in the conflict in the name of freedom of religion. What neither of them anticipated, however, was that in the process of sending the Soviets to defeat they would be creating a new monster, a militarily-equipped radical Islam.
This is the arc of Charlie Wilson's War, a relatively lighthearted romp about a real-life James Bond. The movie was adapted from the best-selling biography of the same name by legendary director Mike Nichols who had no reservations about depicting his protagonist’s depraved side, such as an occasion when we find Charlie cavorting naked in a hot tub with coke-snorting strippers.
Unless somebody’s taking liberties with the truth here, history will one day confirm that all it took to bring an end to the Cold War was the valiant efforts of a party animal who knew his way around Washington well-enough to be unburdened by red tape, bureaucrats or democracy. Charlie Wilson, a real American hero, belatedly revealed.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated R for profanity, nudity, sexuality and drug use.
Running time: 102 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: “The Making of” and “Who Is Charlie Wilson?” featurettes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are a classic combination... Charlie Wilson's War made me feel better about U.S. foreign intervention, it seemed to work out, though that time our intervention was in response to another country's invasion