Charlie Wilson's War 2007

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(83) IMDb 7.1/10
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Oscar nominated drama starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Based on the book by George Crile, the movie tells the story of how one congressman who loved a good time, one Houston socialite who loved a good cause and one renegade CIA agent who loved a good fight conspired to bring about the largest covert operation in history. In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson (Hanks) is a womanising US congressional representative from Texas. With the help of maverick CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), Wilson dedicates his political efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with the weapons and support required to defeat the Soviet Union. However, Charlie eventually learns that military victory can only be achieved at a great price.

Starring:
Julia Roberts, Shiri Appleby
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 38 minutes
Starring Julia Roberts, Shiri Appleby, Denis O'Hare, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt, Erick Avari, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ken Stott, Om Puri, Tom Hanks, Rachel Nichols, Amy Adams
Director Mike Nichols
Genres Drama, Historical
Studio UNIVERSAL
Rental release 5 May 2008
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 38 minutes
Starring Julia Roberts, Shiri Appleby, Denis O'Hare, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt, Erick Avari, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ken Stott, Om Puri, Tom Hanks, Rachel Nichols, Amy Adams
Director Mike Nichols
Genres Drama, Historical
Studio UNIVERSAL PICTURES UK
Rental release 21 March 2011
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Withnail67 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
This is a great movie, a cinematic version of Waugh's 'Scoop', but aimed oh-so-sharply at the blithe enthusiasm and well-meaning idealism that funds freedom fighters as they engage your enemy, and then wrings its hands as they metamorphose into terrorists and turn their weapons against you.

As the director of 'Catch-22', Nichols is on very secure territory. This film, and the book that inspired it are salutary satirical warnings against the dangers of nation building.

Hanks's urbane and engagingly predatory Representative sharks his way through 1980s Washington, and forms part of an unlikely trio that includes Right-wing ideologue Julia Roberts and troubled CIA agent Philip Seymour Hoffman. Wilson becomes aware of the need to support the anti-Communist mujahdeen in Afghanistan, and uses every kind of leverage to boost their funding.

Hoffman steals the film with a great performance, and Hanks isn't far behind. Roberts disappoints, not really due to her acting, more to the difficulty of making such a downright odd character accessible.

There are come cute references to the early 80s (Bowie singing 'Let's Dance' a bit anachronistic as I recall) and a great small part by the luminous Emily Blunt. The sub-Airwolf special effects are most charitably regarded as symbolic of the protagonists cartoon-level attitude to the violence they're organising. The chilling reference to the bitter fruit of the failed state of Afghanistan on 11/9/2001 is well done.

A great war film; 'Mr Smith goes to Washington' for the class of '86.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By J. Fryar on 1 Jun 2008
Format: DVD
I saw this film advertised, immediately thought 'Tom Hanks? Nah ...', and let it slip through the cinema releases without seeing it. It was certainly an error of judgement because Charlie Wilson's War is a great movie.

The plot is based on the true story of Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks), a coke-snorting, hard drinkin', womanising Texas senator who teams up with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and sixth-wealthiest- woman-in-Texas Joanne Herring (played beautifully by Julia Roberts). They subsequently engineer the largest covert operation in US history, supplying freedom fighters with the weaponry they need to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

'Charlie Wilson's War' is a mix of charismatic charactors, cynical humour and drama, with some fine acting by Hanks and Hoffman and a wider chemistry evident across the entire cast; CWW is the type of film you watch and just know the actors are relishing their roles and having a great time. It's funny and cerebral, while also showing us the murky side of how the world really works behind the scenes. It's an entertaining and accomplished piece of film making, but not without its problems.

Director Mike Nichols seems comfortable sitting in his 'Catch-22' war-comedy roots, and never really tackles head on the issues the film raises. In particular, the ending (where we, the audience, can retrospectively look back at the historical events and know the direction it goes) seems tacked on, as if to temper the somewhat jingoistic slant the film has for much of its length.

The film also falls into the Sorkin-esque trap where, although the dialogue is great, it's sputtered out at a Kalashnikov rate ... the old US tact of conveying the intelligence of characters by making them speak incredibly quickly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caped Crusader on 24 Nov 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Charlie Wilson's War has to be one of those films destined to stand the test of time. It's one of those films where everything seems to just work so well; the casting, direction, pacing and screenplay. It contains a serious history that is entertaining and is a background to one of the most contentious issues of our time: the war on terror.

Set during the 80s, we see the rise of a very unlikely individual, senator Charlie Wilson, who was almost the single cog around which the biggest covert military operation in history would revolve. Charlie, on hearing that the strategically important Afghanistan was being invaded by America's Communist enemies, uses all his contacts and all his favours in Congress to bring about the funding of Afghans in order to repel the Soviet invaders. Afghanistan in the 80s turned into Russia's Vietnam, and Afghanistan would claim yet another Empire. Afghanistan being known as the land 'where empires go to die...'

This is a dialogue based film, and the pacing is quick. There is much information flying by, but it is often witty which bars it from becoming too 'heavy.' The scenes with Charlie visiting the refugee camp in Pakistan cannot fail to rally you to the Afghanis cause. But I defy other reviewers who think they're above this film, simply because they've read a book or two about it and know more than is contained in this film. Personally, it is always nice to see history-based films tie up everything into entertaining little packages. It is slightly bemusing to see people disparage a film, because it wouldn't qualify as a definitive source of information for a university essay...?

The first time I watched this film was when I borrowed it from a friend. It was so engaging I watched it one evening after the next before handing it back.
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