from variety: Oliver Stone’s unusual and inescapably interesting “W.” feels like a rough draft of a film it might behoove him to remake in 10 or 15 years. The director’s third feature to hinge on a modern-era presidency, after “JFK” and “Nixon,” offers a clear and plausible take on the current chief executive’s psychological makeup and, considering Stone’s reputation and Bush’s vast unpopularity, a relatively even-handed, restrained treatment of recent politics. For a film that could have been either a scorching satire or an outright tragedy, “W.” is, if anything, overly conventional, especially stylistically. The picture possesses dramatic and entertainment value, but beyond serious filmgoers curious about how Stone deals with all this president’s men and women, it’s questionable how wide a public will pony up to immerse itself in a story that still lacks an ending.
psychodrama of party animal turned president missing final act
from guardian: Finally, “W.”, Oliver Stone’s film about George Bush’s life, was revealed to the press yesterday ahead of its release to the public next week.
The film has all the elements of the best psychodramas: an overbearing father, a straight-talking mother, a favourite son/brother, and a cast of sycophants and true believers. But it is the comedy – some of it very dark – that will stay in the minds of the audience. Bush, uncannily portrayed by Josh Brolin, saying “Guantanamero” instead of “Guantánamo”; comparing himself to Moses – “He wasn’t a very good speaker,” Bush says to explain his own call to politics, “but he knew”; and agreeing with Laura, his wife, that the musical Cats is “one thing I’ll stay up late for”.
But the film (its title is the initial of the president’s middle name, Walker) plays like a TV movie rather than a cinematic epic, and it will not shift the political landscape ahead of the US election on November 4. Instead, it will reinforce the feelings of those who believe Bush was a dangerous incompetent, and provide ammunition to those on the other side of the political spectrum who prefer to worry about the bias of the liberal media…
While JFK proved controversial for Stone’s conspiratorial take on the Kennedy assassination, W. is far more conventional in its assessment. The core of the psychodrama is Bush’s relationship with his domineering father. As is his wont, Stone explains the battle between the two in stark terms: he has them fight an imaginary duel at the close of the film.
Of necessity – a necessity probably provoked by the imminent election – the film, which was only begun in May, will be released before the end of the story. With W still in office, the final act has yet to be written.
flashback: clip from oliver stone’s bush film released
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