Charlie Wilson's War 2007

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(77) 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:
Erick Avari, Tom Hanks
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 38 minutes
Starring Erick Avari, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt, Shiri Appleby, Om Puri, Ken Stott, Denis O'Hare, Rachel Nichols
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 Erick Avari, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Ned Beatty, Emily Blunt, Shiri Appleby, Om Puri, Ken Stott, Denis O'Hare, Rachel Nichols
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
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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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By James on 22 Aug 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
We had great expectations of a hilarious film with a message. Although the story was gripping from the beginning, the fun really started about halfway through, when Philip Seymour Hoffman got into the action. Julia Roberts was disappointing, more reminiscent of Devil Wears Prada than the character in this film. Tom Hanks was excellent.

This was a nice mix of entertainment, thrill and political message. The exchanges between Hanks and Hoffman are very funny. The film gives a light-hearted insight into the American political and lobbying system, contrasted with the more serious side of war, as seen in the refugee camps. Then at the end of the film we are reminded about what happened after Russia pulled out of Afghanistan. This is pointedly brought out in the scene on the balcony. Do watch out for it. It leaves you thinking.

But the real negative of this DVD is the forced UNICEF AIDS fundraising sequence at the beginning. It lasts 4 minutes and cannot be stopped, paused, fast-forwarded or turn off. And whatever you do, don't touch the menu key while you are watching the film otherwise you have to endure the whole 4 minute sequence again. Personally, I would not buy this DVD knowing what I know now. Emails to Universal Studios about it just bounce back.

So, in summary, quite a good film but not good enough to live with the UNICEF sequence at the beginning. No matter how much you might respect the work of UNICEF.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Carol Haynes TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 July 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
OK let's get it straight I really enjoyed the film. The start of the film was a bit slow and confused (I really wasn't that interested to explore Charlie's predilections for nudes in spar tubs) but once the reason for the story is made known it is gripping and moves at a pace that keeps you interested and ultimately moved until the end. The great thing was showing what a few individuals can achieve in the face of international lethargy and disinterest.

It was good to meet the real Charlie in the extras but why did that have to effectively have a 'Making Of ...' and then a shorter 'Meet Charlie Wilson' that has identical footage of Charlie and nothing new?

So a good film so why only 2 stars. As other people have pointed out I absolutely hate this DVD - you have to sit through nearly 4 minutes of a UNICEF campaign for Aids in Africa. There is no option to skip or fast forward through it. Then you get nearly a minute of loud noise about video piracy (which I object to as I just bought the damn thing - why treat ME as a pirate when pirates can easily strip the crap) and then to add insult to injury there is a further copyright notice. OK we finally get to the film but for heaven's sake don't press the menu button on your handset during the film or you have to endure the whole lot again - it doesn't even go straight to the menu.

What is the net effect of all this - people will copy the DVD just to remove the crap so they can watch the film in peace. This totally negates the charity appeal stuff and the copyright notices and turns users in to copyright infringers because of the publishers own stupidity!

Don't get me wrong I thing publicising the work of UNICEF in Africa is laudable and I wouldn't mind it being on the disc (even though the disc has nothing to do with UNICEF or Africa or Aids) provided it is in the extras section and is optional.
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