Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Hanks.
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Stanley Weiser
Lately I seem to be watching a lot of biopic movies. Recently I have seen the Margaret Thatcher film and the J Edgar Hoover movie, both being poor. I can tell you the George W Bush one is no better.
As you can imagine, there is no story. It is solely about Bush as he graduates from college drunk to head of a super power country. The film doesn't know whether it is supporting him or opposing him throughout. The film is like watching a yoyo as it goes back and forth.
The narrative dips in and out of the past and then comes back to his decisions around the Iraq War. The flashbacks are not done in a way where Bush is giving his memoirs or even dreaming of his past, the flashbacks just sort of happen. No point to the narrative at all. Why wasn't it just played linear?
We see Bush attempting to break into a fraternity by passing a questions, alcohol and ice bucket test. We then see his struggle with alcohol and his run ins with the law and his father, George Bush Snr. Moving on we get his days working on an oil rig and then quitting every job he has. Next he runs for Governor and meets his future wife Laura, eventually helping him to run for Congress and then President. I think that's how it all went, I'm not sure on all the political points and I was also drifting in and out of the film as it struggled to keep me interested.
The beginning of the film is quite intriguing. It is a strange story to see how a future President started as a screw up at college and became a raging alcoholic. I wish the film stayed in this area for longer but it spends more time on his decision on going to war with Iraq. I know this was a pivotal point of his Presidency but as a film it was just dull. We kept viewing a group of people sitting in a room discussing. That is boring.
I'm not going to racket on about politics. I'm not sure on American politics and being English removes me from really knowing the story of Bush, without doing some research of course. His story is intriguing, especially with his background as being a mess and rising from his Father's shadow to prove him wrong. What I mainly know about Bush is that he was not loved by his country and most people believe he shouldn't have made the decisions he did. He was the country's most hated President.
I feel like I shouldn't be writing this review. It is turning into a political chat rather than a film review and I just don't know what to say about this film. The acting is ok, although I hear that Brolin had some criticism for his over the top portrayal of Bush. I thought he was alright but having him play the nineteen year old Bush and the fifty old one just did not work. He does not look like a college kid. Elizabeth Banks on the other hand looks too young to be an ageing First Lady. In my opinion she is very miss cast. James Cromwell as Bush Snr was good but apparently nothing like the man he was playing. There are also decent performances from Richard Dreyfuss, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Toby Jones and Scott Glenn. They seemed fine by me but again I don't know much about the people they were playing. Perhaps I should have done some research before I watched this as I am finding it very hard to discuss any issues with it.
I'll wrap it up I think as I just don't know what else to say. The film is dull. Some of it, particularly the beginning, is quite good but it snow balls downhill with pace after that. It is as if they are highlighting a career of a man many disliked, so I don't really understand why they felt the need to make a film about him. Is he a good man or evil? Being a Brit I suppose I don't really know and maybe American's will understand this a lot more than me. It is highly patriotic and for me highlighting something that many will be trying to erase.
2 / 5
Next film to review: THOR