6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Great Game - not so great, not much of a game,
This review is from: Charlie Wilson's War [DVD] (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.