Sometimes a movie can ride on the fact that it’s got big and talented stars and a clever script and it works just fine. However in the case of Charlie Wilson’s War that simply isn’t enough, because the rest it has to offer feels muddled, confusing, and irritatingly restrained.
Charlie Wilson’s War is a biography/drama about a Texas congressman and his covert dealings with Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their fight against the Soviets has had long-reaching effects.
In all fairness my negative reaction to this film is really a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. For some reason I just couldn’t get into the groove of the whole thing; although the script is very clever and very well written, it's the combination of the insider mentality, including copious amounts of names of places, people, and countries, and a certain satire that just doesn't sit right with me. I’m sure there are plenty of folks out there who will just “get” what the film is aiming for, but I am not one of them.
Although I realise it’s a personal portrayal of one man’s story within the goings-on of the time period, I still couldn’t get it out of my head that it could have been pushed a lot further than it was. There are all these different events, places, people, and so on that are mentioned or alluded to frequently, but we never really see many of them. It might have helped if I had some prior knowledge or interest in the events tackled instead of going in completely blind and as a result there were plenty of times within its fairly brisk 95 minutes where I was utterly lost. To me the only real merits of this film were the actors and performances on the menu.
First off we have Tom Hanks and it goes without saying he’s just great here. I always thought he had a certain suaveness about him and he just needed the right kind of role, such as Charlie Wilson, to show off that attribute. It’s always very clear whether someone is forcing a performance or it comes to them naturally and in Hanks’ case here it’s definitely an example of the latter.