Anthony's Film Review
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
A somewhat interesting drama about an unlikely player in American history...
Charlie Wilson's War tells a story that I've never been told in any U.S. history class. I guess it's because history focuses heavily on influence, the people and events shaping the world in major ways. That's why we study the major U.S. presidents, American citizens, cultural shifts, wars, and whatever else is of importance. For the same reason, Charlie Wilson has been a name kept out of most history textbooks. He wasn't a president. He was simply a Texas congressman in the 1980s.
Assuming the portrayal of Wilson in this movie is mostly true, then perhaps the biggest reason his name isn't in the history books was his lifestyle. The first several minutes of the film show Wilson's debauchery off work, including being in a hottub with three naked strippers in Las Vegas. His endless taste for women also shows in his office where three attractive secretaries work, often showing cleavage. If you thought the Clinton sex scandal was something, just look at Charlie Wilson's sex life.
Yes, this is the same person who was given an award for his efforts in helping the Afghans defeat the Soviets during the Cold War. And no, I am not spoiling the movie. This is actually the first scene. Instead of the traditional chronological format where we watch to see the journey and the end point, we are presented with the ending and only wonder about what led to it. You can still have a few nice surprises along the way. Even so, there isn't entirely much of that in this film.
Tom Hanks plays Charlie Wilson and brandishes a Texas accent for this role. Also starring are Amy Adams as Wilson's administrative assistant Bonnie, Julia Roberts as Joanne, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the CIA agent Gust. The film is mostly a dialogue film, the story being told through the character's words. Wilson is asked to meet with the President of Pakistan and, from there, he is led into efforts to help supply the Afghans with weapons, not by military action but by congressional action.
If there is just one thing to like about Charlie Wilson's War, it's that anybody can make history and it does not have to be widely documented. It just has to be shown through actions that impact others. Maybe U.S. history should not be limited to presidents and other politicians with unique voices. Even a congressman like Charlie Wilson is part of American history. Yes, he is also a playboy politician but that's part of who he is. There is nothing wrong with a flawed person making a difference. After all, history is all about presenting the facts.
For more information about Charlie Wilson's War, visit the Internet Movie Database.