Movie Reviews W.
Somewhat surprisingly W. has turned out to be director Oliver Stone's best-reviewed film in ages. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times awards it four stars and calls it "fascinating." And he suggests that unlike other Stone biographies, this one about President Bush, contains "not a line of dialogue that sounds like malicious fiction. It's all pretty much as published accounts have prepared us for." However, Manohla Dargis in the New York Times reminds her readers that the movie is, after all, "a work of imagination," and she adds "It says nothing new or insightful about the president, his triumphs and calamities. (As if anyone goes to an Oliver Stone movie for a reality check.) But it does something most journalism and even documentaries can't or won't do it reminds us what a long, strange trip it's been to the Bush White House." Josh Brolin's portrayal of the president receives nearly universal praise. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal writes, "Mr. Brolin's performance is hugely enjoyable." Claudia Puig in USA Today comments that Brolin "gives a strong and credible impersonation of George W. and brings the man to life." Lou Lumenick in the New York Post says, "Josh Brolin is superb." And Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News calls Brolin's performance "nuanced yet piercing." But Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News suggests that Stone may have leaned over backwards to provide a "balanced" look at the president. He writes "Buying the administration's story that Bush really did believe Saddam had WMDs until well after the Iraq invasion is one thing; making a Bush movie that doesn't dramatize 9/11 nor mention the historic 2000 election controversy is negligent at best - and craven if it was left out in hopes of dodging partisan criticism." And Ann Hornada in the Washington Post suggests that the title could have stood for "Why?" As she puts it "Why this movie -- a rushed, wildly uneven, tonally jumbled caricature -- and why now? Why, when Americans and citizens around the globe are still coming to terms with the implications of so many Bush policies, would they want to pay money at the box office to see what amounts to an extended S aturday Night Live skit?"