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Plot: In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson is a womanizing US congressional representative from Texas who seemed to be in the minor leagues, except for the fact that he is a member of two major foreign policy and covert-ops committees. However, prodded by his major conservative supporter, Houston Socialite… Runtime: 102 min Release Date: 21 Dec 2007
When one goes into this movie, you are going to expect a film with snide political overtones, blaming current politicians.Yet, it remains brilliantly neutral. While there is obviously politicking going on, it remains a backdrop to the brilliant yet subtle scheme that sucks you in and keeps you nailed to the screen.I can rant about this movie endlessly. The dialog is witty without being snide or overbearing. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and brilliantly acted. It mixes historical documentation and news casting seamlessly with the actual film work.To put more in here would to give <more>
it away. But, do yourself a favor, and pay for the movie ticket to take a two hour history lesson in one of the key events that have shaped our current world.
Reminds me of classic James Bond from the early 60s (by Joekingfans)
When Tom Hanks sports the classic "black & white" tux combo, it reminds me of Sean Connery in "Goldfinger." When his belly dancer seduces a Middle Eastern leader, it reminds me of a scene in "From Russia With Love." The classic beauty of the nude women in the hot tub with Tom Hanks reminds me of something from Playboy -- but, well, at least the film rewards both Playboy and James Bond with "mentions." At times, this film is a Spy Comedy. At other times, a Spy Drama. All of the time, an Excellent Movie.I'm sure we'll be seeing this film at <more>
the Academy Awards: Tom Hanks for Best Actor, Julia Roberts for Best Actress, and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Best Supporting Actor. I'd give Director Mike Nichols the award, as well, especially given his decades of achievement.Don't wait for the DVD. Go see it in the theater. My call is that "Charlie Wilson's War" will be #1 at the Box Office this Christmas!
Director Mike Nichols' "Charlie Wilson's War" chronicles the exploits of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson played by awesome Tom Hanks , who almost single handedly funded and orchestrated the U.S. covert war in Afghanistan against the Russians. However, "Charlie Wilson's War" serves as a cautionary tale for the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The line from Charlie Wilson is " We f---ed up the endgame." Charlie admits to CIA analyst Gust Avrakotos Philip Seymour Hoffman , "I am not a smart man." Gust says, "No, you just work in <more>
Congress " Politics and war are the strangest of bedfellows.Aaron Sorkin "West Wing" brilliantly wrote the screenplay based on the book by George Crile. Nichols' "Charlie Wilson's War" is biting smart and hysterical, in one of the best movies of the year. Tom Hanks is amazing as Charlie Wilson, the Congressman who acts upon his attack of conscience. This is one of Hanks' most powerful and understated performances. Nichols and Sorkin expertly balance the Russian Army atrocities in the Afghan War and the ironies of Congressional politics with a stinging sense of humor. Based on the true story, "Charlie Wilson's War" gets it right for never taking itself seriously. Charlie almost single handedly increased appropriations for Afghanistan from $5 million to $1 billion in a covert operation. The performances by Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are outstanding and award worthy.While partying with strippers and Playboy cover model in a Jacuzzi in Las Vegas, Charlie Wilson Hanks , watches a news report by Dan Rather from Afghanistan. On the flight back to D.C. Charlie asks his assistant Bonnie spunky Amy Adams to make appropriate inquiries on the Hill. Charlie is both on the Armed Services Committee as well as a Covert Operations chair. The divorced Charlie also calls upon Texan power broker and occasional lover Joanne Herring tough and smart Julia Roberts . Joanne sees Afghan War as a Christian War, even though Afghanistan is a Muslim country. At the same time Charlie is investigated for illicit cocaine use which could terminate his position.First order of business is flying to Pakistan to meet with the Pakistan President. Pakistan harbors the Afghan refugee camps. Charlie witnesses first hand the atrocities upon the Afghan people, particularly the children-- victims of rape and "toy bombs". Charlie's imperative becomes providing state-of-the-art hi-tech weaponry and training for the Afghans to shoot down the Russian helicopters of mass destruction. The catch is that the arms must be brokered, and can not be directly linked back to the U.S. This forms an alliance between Israel, Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, who have access to this weaponry—an unheard of feat. Charlie's guy to make this happen is CIA analyst Gust Avrakotos brilliantly cynical Hoffman . Together they take on the Russian Army in Afghanistan.Near the end Gust tells Charlie the story of the Zen Master and the boy. The message of the allegory is: "We shall see." "Charlie Wilson's War" eloquently illustrates that by nature, destruction may be easier than creation. We have seen this time and again throughout history, and seem slow in learning this lesson. Mike Nichols' direction is sharp, funny, and ultimately poignant. And his performances are amazing. Julia Roberts is a surprise in really a character role. As Joanne her Southern belle charm and frankness masks a brilliant strategist who takes no prisoners. Roberts kills in this role. Philip Seymour Hoffman is perfection as Gust. Hoffman gives Gust deceptive smarts, and a war weary sense of the absurd. We get that despite himself Gust is a good guy. Amy Adams "Enchanted" as Bonnie is a refreshing foil to Charlie—she is a great spirit. The ubiquitous Emily Brunt "The Devil Wears Prada", "Dan in Real Life" is very sultry and sexy as Jane. Tom Hanks is awesome. There is the great moment when his Charlie tells Bonnie, "You know you've reached rock bottom when you're told you have character flaws by a man who hanged his predecessor in a military coup." Hanks is powerful as the flawed man, who takes upon greatness, when his line in the sand is crossed. Hanks amazingly embodies humanity and humor in the often time absurd and cruel world of affairs. He is the soul of "Charlie Wilson's War". "Charlie Wilson's War" is one of the best movies of the year, well worth seeing.
Funny, sad, and ultimately frightening - a film that makes you both laugh and weep at the state of the world. (by flechette)
Mike Nichols in finest form. I was not a fan of "Closer", so it's refreshing to see him again right back on top with this comedy set in the darkest of circumstances. Just one slip in tone could have wrecked this compelling picture but Nichols and his very strong A-list cast never put a foot wrong in this biopic of a deeply flawed but utterly compelling Congressman.Philip Seymour Hoffman as usual is scintillating and brilliant - here playing a damaged but ultra-smart CIA manipulator, and it is in the exchanges between Hanks and Hoffman's characters where the comedy soars. <more>
Rarely is movie humour laugh-out loud and also smart... This hits the spot time after time with a biting satirical edge that makes you both laugh and weep at the state of the world often simultaneously .One other major plus is the length of the picture. The film is based on George Crile's fat book of the same title. The temptation for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin his claim to fame is "The West Wing" must have been to make a fat movie, but what we get is a breath-taking 90 odd minutes of great story with sweeping implications.This film deserves to be seen and to be recognized for finding an extraordinary balance between the darkest of dark subject matter and the lightness of touch of it's sparkling witty script - even if it does flunk the obvious link between the help that Herring and Wilson provide and the ultimate consequences 9/11 .
Excellent and faithful adaptation of the best-selling book. (by teocalli)
It doesn't happen very often, but occasionally one man can make a difference -- a big difference.George Crile's 2003 best seller, CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, is a fascinating and eye-opening account of the most unlikely "difference maker" imaginable. A relatively obscure Congressman from the Second District of Texas, "Good Time Charlie" was known more for his libertine lifestyle than his libertarian legislation. Likable and licentious even for a politician , Charlie Wilson served his constituency well since the good folks of Lufkin only really wanted two things, <more>
their guns and to be left alone. It's Easy Street replete with his bevy of beltway beauties known, appropriately enough, as Charlie's Angels.When asked why his entire office staff was composed of attractive, young aides his response is a classic, "You can teach 'em to type, but you can't teach 'em to grow tits." No argument there.But even the most rakish rapscallion has a conscience lurking somewhere underneath, and for Charlie Wilson the unimaginable atrocities being committed in Afghanistan moved him to muster his entire political savvy toward funding the utter, humiliating defeat of the Russian military and, possibly, to even help hasten the end of the Cold War as a result. Fat chance, huh?Under the skillful direction of Mike Nichols and a smart, snappy screenplay by Adam Sorkin, CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR is a sparkling, sophisticated satire that chronicles the behind-the- scene machinations of three colorful characters comprising "Charlie's Team."The on-screen "Team," is composed of three marvelous actors with four 4 Academy Awards and nine 9 nominations between them. Charlie is beautifully portrayed by Tom Hanks in a solid, slightly understated fashion that is among his best work in years. He's aided, abetted and abedded by Joanne Herring, a wealthy Houston socialite played by the still-slinky Julia Roberts. Hey, why else have the bikini scene than to let the world know this? By all accounts Ms. Roberts looks good and holds her own, but the screenplay never gives us even a hint why Kabul and country is so important to her character. Maybe the two Afghan hounds usually by her side know -- but we as an audience never do. As for the third member of the "Team," Philip Seymour Hoffman steals every scene he appears in as Gust Aurakotos, a smart, street- wise i.e. non Ivy League graduate CIA malcontent who knows the score -- both in the Agency's boardroom and in Wilson's bedroom.For the Mujahideen to succeed, the most important assistance the U.S. can provide is the ability to shoot down the dreaded MI-21 helicopter gunships which rule the skies. This takes money, lots of money, and eventually "Charlie's Team" covertly coerces those in Congress to fund the effort to the tune of $1 billion dollars for advanced weaponry to arm the Afghan rebels. This includes top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets as well as other highly sophisticated killing devices. Nasty, nasty stuff.That this kind of multi-billion dollar illicit activity can and does take place behind Congressional doors is truly alarming. Every American should see this movie or read this book because it reveals a truly frightening aspect of the business-as-usual political scene rarely seen outside the walls of our very own government. Oh momma, I wish it weren't so...Even though the initial outcome for "Team Charlie" was an unqualified success, the unimaginable, unanticipated final result is that these sophisticated weapons are now used against our troops by the Taliban and others. Since the funding was entirely "covert," the young generation in this part of the world has no idea the fall of Soviet oppression and the end to Russian barbarity was the direct result of American intervention. Yes, once the Russkies left, so did our aid -- zip for schools, zip for infrastructure, zip on maintaining meaningful relationships with the Afghan people. As a result, the overall consequence is an unmitigated disaster -- it's like the forerunner to "Mission Accomplished."As Nichol's film so pointedly points out, "The ball you've set in motion can keep bouncing even after you've lost interest in it." Mike Krzyzewski knows this, Eva Longoria Parker knows this, little Lateesha in Lafayette knows this, but the typical American politician doesn't. So we go from good guys to bad guys because we couldn't let the world know we were the good guys. Talk about a Catch-22 another Mike Nichols film .Perhaps Charlie Wilson said it best, "We f&%ked up the end game."Again.
A Sly, Sophisticated Piece of Film-making (by colinbarnard-1)
I like Tom Hanks, and he is one of few actors who will draw me into the theatre regardless of any misgivings I may have concerning the film. I worried about Mr. Hanks return to "light comedy" as this is the arena where he made the transition from TV to film- remember "Big"? Well, "Charlie Wilson's War" is not light comedy. It is political satire, and extremely well-written political satire at that. The script is the star of this film, and the word-smithing by Aaron Sorkin is some of the best on offer this year.Mike Nicols holds the entire escapade together, <more>
delivering a film that zips along in a very quick 90 minutes timing is everything in comedy, and nothing is ever funny if it drags . Nicols' choice in sets and lighting are also very reminiscent of '70's and '80's TV, a move used deliberately to root the piece in period.The return to the use of model work and stock photography over digital special effects also enhances the retro look and believability. Note to the production designers in your choice of stock footage: I know the difference between an F-16 and a MiG, and a Bell and a Hind. But that may have been part of the joke, too.I saw this film in Philadelphia. It was interesting to watch and listen to the audience NOT get the historical references to their own history. History tends to repeat because the recidivists have forgotten what happened the first time around.Kudos to both Mr. Hanks and that chameleon Phillip Seymore Hoffman. Sorkin's script is brought to life by these actors, and the entire production team is on the top of their game.Heartily recommended.
Thoroughly Entertaining & Surprisingly Amusing Film (by BlackNarcissus)
Told in flashback, the film opens in 1989 with Charlie being given award for his role in the defeat of Communism. I must admit my heart sank as at the thought of have to endure yet another earnest, somewhat boring and overlong life story. How wrong was I, because that short scene is as close as the film ever gets to boring.The film is full of entertaining & amusing set ups and cracking dialogue in some of the most unexpected places. The next scene after the Awards ceremony is Charlie in a Hot-Tub with some naked women and a guy trying to get him to invest in a TV programme. Another rather <more>
amusing scene is about 3 quarters into the film comprises Charlie, a group of his rather sexy Secretaries, Phillip Seymour Hoffmans CIA Man and a bottle of Whisky. As to dialogue what about this for a line, "The Senator says, He can teach us to type but can't teach us to grow Tits.". OK, School-boyish I know but the film is laced with great lines.As to performances well Phillip Seymour Hoffman as usual steals every scene he's in. Hanks is OK but surprisingly to me anyway was Julia Roberts who is very good in the role of a rather eccentric Texas Oil Millionairess.Charlie Wilson's War is one of the best non Musician Bio-pics in a long while as well as being that rare thing a film that entertains, amuses as well as informs all in equal measure.
In one of the better movies of the year, Tom Hanks stars as Congressman Charlie Wilson in this sardonically funny and extremely relevant given reasonably current events historical comedy-drama surrounding the 1980s Afghan/Soviet fiasco. The Soviets were attacking Afghanistan killing hundreds of people. Why should anyone care? People are dying, right? No, the reason the United States got involved through Charlie Wilson was because the Afghans, in fear they would get blown to sh_t, started illegally coming into Pakistan which in turn p_ssed Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq off. Charlie <more>
Wilson in an effort to fix this situation teamed up with the sixth richest woman and religious fanatic in Texas, Joanne Herring Julia Roberts and a amusing and robust American spy for the CIA, Gust Avrakotos Philip Seymour Hoffman to help supply Afghans with high-tech weapons to destroy Soviet fight air-craft that would try and attack their land.Although certainly not a serious Oscar contender for Best Picture, 'Charlie Wilson's War' is probably one of the best of the many political films of the year. Academy Award Winner Mike Nichols provides solid directing as to be expected while Emmy Award Winner Aaron Sorkin Sport's Night, The West Wing provides a remarkable screenplay that near-flawlessly balances comedy and drama. The acting is great for the most part as well. Tom Hanks delivers his best and most enjoyable performance since his 2000 Oscar-nominated turn as a FedEx worker stranded on a tropical island in 'Cast Away'. Hanks takes a slimy character like Wilson and with his trademark charm turns him into a likable guy. Amy Adams and Ned Beatty are reliable as always, but the real stand-out performance of the film is from Philip Seymour Hoffman. Arguably the finest actor working in the film industry today, Hoffman takes a small supporting role and upstages everyone around him. From his first scene where he's screaming at his boss before violently breaking his window, Hoffman sucks you in. The only disappointing cast member is unsurprisingly overrated Hollywood starlet Julia Roberts. Hamming her way through yet another movie, Roberts' overbearing and over-the-top portrayal of a rich Texas oil woman hits all the wrong notes and is at most times flat-out annoying. At 97 minutes, the movie is short and sweet, and that isn't to say it doesn't drag at some points but when it does drag it's for a very brief amount of time.In conclusion, 'Charlie Wilson's War' is not a perfect film by any means, but it's certainly worth a look. Grade: B+
Aaron Sorking raises the same questions as Shakespeare did or does. How could they possibly know so much about the inner workings of palace life. Here like in The West Wing, Sorkin opens surprising doors that are hardly a shock but seem ton confirm our worst fears. Everything is so casual and at the same time so directly responsible for so many people's lives. A puffy Tom Hanks tells us one way or another that things can be manipulated with semi pure intentions but without weighing the consequences and Julia Roberts in a blond southern hairdo reminds us of the powers harbored in the <more>
sidelines. The subject is serious but the treatment is light, intelligent but light. Philip Seymour Hoffman, as the invisible middle man, steals every scene he is in, just like Charles Laughton did in every movie he was in.The dialogue is fast but not fast enough for us not to catch up and discover that this is not an ordinary comedy. The seemingly casual pace filled with strokes of wit and provocation grants another badge of honor in the Mike Nichol's collection.