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There are several issues with this movie. One clearly is that it got made far too early. It actually got released while Bush was still in office as the president but besides that, they should had waited at least a decade before making a movie about George W. Bush. Not only can things get put in retrospective by then but also around that time multiple memoirs and biographies would had been released. Not only about George W. Bush himself but also from those who worked closely with him, while he was in office. Now instead we got a rushed movie, that is lacking any real depth or edge to it and a movie that doesn't really tell you anything at all about the person and the president that George W. Bush was at the time.

Perhaps Oliver Stone was afraid that he would be too old if he waited at least another decade. Or it's also fair to say that Stone has lost somewhat of his touch. Not that his latest movies are completely horrible but they really aren't as great or edgy as most of the stuff he did earlier in his career. Honesty, the last Stone movie that I really liked was "Any Given Sunday", from 1999. It's like he is directing his movies on the automatic pilot by now, without really putting his mind and heart into it. He doesn't really bite hard into his subjects anymore it seems, something he used to do in the past and something that for instance made "JFK" such a great and fascinating movie.

It's really fair to say that this was a completely redundant movie. Even now, only 3 years after its release, it already is a more or less forgotten movie. It fails to make an impact in any way, which is mostly because the movie remains on the safe side but is also lacking in any depth.

The movie tells you nothing at all about the person George W. Bush. All we 'learn' from this movie is that he is a very simple person, that somehow made it to becoming the most powerful person on the planet, by becoming the 43th president of the United States. But how and why he became so the movie really doesn't explain or show you at all. The movie in fact shows very little of what's going on outside Bush's view. The movie only sticks with him throughout the entire running time really but at the same time also without showing you anything about his personal life.

The movie really feels like it isn't covering enough ground. As surprising as it might sound, I actually would had preferred it if this movie was over 3 hours long, instead of the 2 hours that it is now. The movie could had told more that way and also could had given the story and its characters some more depth and emotions to it. The movie instead now feels very bland and shallow.

The movie tries to spice up its story by throwing in a couple of things. One is that the movie isn't always told chronologically and at times goes back to Bush's youth. Next to that it focuses on the relationship between him and his father, who became the president before him. But is this all also very interesting for the movie? Not really, because nothing gets ever really developed well enough. Again, the movie is really lacking any depth and most of the stuff feels far too formulaic written. Whatever happened to the days that Oliver Stone wrote his own movies by the way? Seems like he has given up on it since the bombing of "Alexander".

Such a big shame for its cast. The movie actually had a very good and interesting cast in it but none of the actors really get to shine, since the movie just doesn't give them enough interesting to do. I was really looking forward at seeing actors such as Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Wright, Bruce McGill and Scott Glenn in this but I'm sad to say that it really doesn't matter much that they are in this movie. The movie would had most likely been just as bad/good without their presence in it.

But nevertheless, I still have to give the movie lots of credit for its casting and also make-up department. They did a great job at making the actors look like the real life persons, though this at the same time also meant that it more often felt like they were playing a caricature of those real life persons who they impersonated. This worked a bit too distracting at times.

Didn't expected to say this but I actually prefer Oliver Stone's other presidential movie "Nixon" over this one!

6/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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