Stone goes soft on W.

Kadhja Bonet and Kadhja Bonet

AT THE MOVIES
By Kadhja Bonet

“W.” is a series of shorts portraying various stages of the adult life of soon-to-be former President Bush. It is a topical cross-section of his relationship with his father and the aftermath of 9/11.

“W.” is a peculiar film because it is so mild-mannered that it is hard to form an opinion of it. Ultimately, its blandness is an asset, but proximately it’s just anticlimactic.

I was expecting a little more controversy when I walked into the theater -there has been so much over the past 8 years, I was concerned that a 2 hour movie couldn’t contain it all. But, director Oliver Stone (Nixon, JFK) took a very coy approach to this story.

Bush comes off as a manipulated, incompetent puppy, not much different from the depiction we receive from the media. But, Stone also challenges that portrayal by offering insight into the burden and expectations of carrying a heavy name.

At first glance, this victimization seems favorably biased. The fairness of this characterization will depend on the viewer, but overall, Stone does an excellent job of maintaining a neutral position.

Neutrality is key here because Stone’s commentary goes deeper than the incompetence of our beloved President Bush and his Cabinet.

Through the notorious WMD group-think catastrophe, Stone makes a larger criticism on both the American government and its people, who elected the leadership we’re now so eager to purge. The ease to which the government can manipulate its people and corrupt its own principles is the depressing reality Stone lightly addresses.

The disappointment of the people and incompetence of the government is paralleled by the overshadowing figure of George Bush Sr., who makes W. all too aware of his inadequacies.

Stone’s direction is solid. With a dedication to moving camera shots and strong performances by all, it’s hard to look away. And no doubt, Josh Brolin is George W. Bush. But, I do wonder whether W. can stand alone.

Having all lived through the events and mishaps as they occurred, they have particular relevance to us; watching impersonations of politicians, especially Bush, has magnetic draw all on its own. Stone’s depiction is realistic, undramatic, and quite frankly, a bit dull.

I’d save my money and wait for its DVD release, but it’s definitely worth the viewing.