Thursday, April 23, 2009
I ended up actually liking this more then I expected. I was put off by negative reviews, but I thought meh why not give it a chance.
I usually like Oliver Stone's films, and Josh Brolin has been quite the amazing actor as of late.
This basically highlights the events in George W. Bush's life, starting from college all the way to 2004. It shows how he desperately wanted his fathers approval and to be liked by everyone. Was Stone's intention for us to sympathise with Bush? Possibly, but that could have been unintentional as well. In parts it felt like he wanted to remain unbiased, but then there are scenes that are, a little bit of a mixed bag. Some parts it felt like the man we were seeing was getting in too deep, not being all that smart, trying to want to do the right thing but failing. Then in other parts here was a man being manipulated, and almost unable to really do things on his own. As shown in one part, when he was asked hard questions he wasn't able to answer them on his own, but quite capable of doing a strong speech when someone else had written it for him. Not all that different from what we saw from the real Bush.
It is almost like Stone was unsure of how he felt about the man, and unsure of how he wants his audience to feel about him. Sure, the subject at hand isn't an easy one, and I think he took the safe route here.
Performance wise, Josh Brolin once again shows just what a fantastic actor he really is. He looked a bit like Bush, his sounded exactly like Bush, his voice, his accent, it was spot on. He carried himself well and he was very convincing. I do have to add though, most of the cast were too good looking. Brolin is too handsome, Bush isn't an attractive man, but yes it is a film. Elizabeth Banks was quite strong as well, again too good looking, but here she shows her range as an actress and she is fast becoming a favourite. James Cromwell as usual gives a strong performance, he was quite good as Bush Sr. Jeffrey Wright was great, he usually is. I felt he put a lot into his performance. Good stuff from Richard Dreyfus and Toby Jones as well, interesting casting choices there as well, but they were quite good in their roles. Another example of someone being too good looking for the role was Thandie Newton. She had so much make up on, it looked like she couldn't move her face. She was extremely annoying, just like the real Condie, good job though. Ellen Burstyn was great as Barbara. She looked the part and she played the part, that was a good piece of casting. I noticed a few familiar faces in smaller roles, such as Jesse Bradford (Swimfan), Jason Ritter (The Class) and Noah Wyle (ER).
The pacing is a bit off at times, but for the most part I thought it flowed quite well. I can see why people might not like it, but I really didn't mind it at all. At least give it a chance if you like Oliver Stone or Josh Brolin.