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(Review originally written at 4 September 2008)

Consistency is perhaps this movie its biggest problem. The movie starts of as a fast, stylish and just plain fun political satire but in its second halve the movie gets more serious of tone, in an almost Oliver Stone kind of way. It's of course also a very serious subject but I would say that the movie would had been way better and also more effective if it had been completely done in the same style as the first halve of the movie got shot in.


For a biography and a movie concerning the subject of this movie, the movie is also quite short with its mere 102 minutes of running time. The movie because of this feels like it isn't telling the whole story. Of course the following up of the events after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan gets hinted at in the movie but the movie doesn't go deeper into it and it doesn't explain much about it, which feels like a cheap way to just glorify Charlie Wilson, without showing the other side of the medal. Also the actual events in the movie itself gets rather simplified, even though the story still gets told (needlessly) complex at times.


Yes, the movie would just had been way better if it was not trying to be so serious at times and overall more light with its style and atmosphere. The movie should had been for instance more like "Wag the Dog", that achieved to find a right combination of satire and sensitive political issues.


Because of this incoherent style and way of storytelling, the acting performances are also mixed. When Tom Hanks is playing his character more playfully and in a more comical kind of way he's just excellent. But this just makes it sort of hard to take his character serious in the more serious and sensitive/shocking moments of the movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman is always excellent though, as he is in any movie that he plays in. He also received an Oscar nomination for his role in this movie. Most of the other actors just seem to walk around in this movie, just to be in the movie. This goes mostly for Julia Roberts, whose character I found just too mysterious to seem to have a clear enough purpose for the movie. She made a redundant impression on me and is therefor also really forgettable in this movie.


It's not that the movie is a bad watch, it actually is quite good and also enjoyable but if the movie would had dared to be a bit more edgier the movie would had been a better and foremost also more effective one at what it tried to obviously achieve.


7/10


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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