If, for some reason, you ever wondered how in the hell a dumb, rich, beer swilling frat boy could possibly rise to become President virtually out of the blue, then Oliver Stone's latest speculative biography W. is just what you wanted. So when did Stone stop making regular movies anyway?
It's the mid-sixties, and sure as punch Oliver Stone is there examining some aspect of it. This time, it's a particular ne'er-do-well whooping it up at a fraternity hazing. He's drinking like a fish but still winning over his brothers with his folksy charisma and aw-shucks dippy charm. Then we flash forward, flash backward, and a few times sideways as we glance -- sometimes for no apparent reason -- at various aspects of this guy's personality which remains remarkably unchanged as it gets dragged unwillingly through history.
The guy, of course, is George W. Bush (Josh Brolin), a man who manages to Gump his way through trials and tribulations with no more self-awareness or wisdom than an amoeba stuck under a microscope.
Stone's version offers an odd, yet boring angle on the only-just-recent President that acted as a virtual lightening rod for controversy when he was in power. Managing to make even this polarizing figure almost completely uninteresting and uni-dimensional is no small feat, and for that Stone is to be commended.
Movie Value: $0.25How did he manage it? Easy: ignore the truly controversial (and therefore interesting to explore) details, focus on everyday minutiae, and paint everyone around him as wooden caricatures, and voila! A movie about a truly pivotal figure in historic times that's about as interesting to watch as drying paint: slow, pointless, and thoroughly exasperating.