Tell me something that I don't know.

Released in 2008, certified UK-15. Reviewed on 18 Dec 2008 by Scott Morris

I was contemplating while watching this film the problem that this will pose for search engines. After all, most indexing systems do not allow searches for strings of less than three characters. Does this make Oliver Stone's W. invisible to most computers? I'm not claiming that this is a particularly interesting point, or one that's relevant to the matter at hand. I use it merely to illustrate that rather than being engaged by the film parading in front of me I was considering the minutiae of database schemas. Not, I wager, the thoughts Olly hopes to provoke.

A dull, pointless examination of the manchild President George Walker Bush and his 'achievements' both pre and during his terms in office, this follows neatly on from the Olster's last film, a dull and pointless examination of the World Trade Center's death by Boeing. Talking much about this film presents unique challenges for someone who's political view verge on outright Communism, but in the spirit that the film intends I'll try and keep my bile pointing in the general direction of the film, not the man it depicts.

Josh Brolin steps into the feckless shoes of the dishonest, deficient fuck-knuckle of an oxygen thief, adopting an impressively accurate copy of his fraudulent, folksy, idiot of the people drawl that distracts from his privileged, gloriously monied upbringing. This charts, through an essentially random timeframe, the successes and failures, well, okay, just failures, of his many short-lived careers before his current failure, driving America's economy and international standing into the ground.

Well, that didn't work very well. Let's take a look at the supporting cast, as though they're any less worth of derision. James Cromwell plays Bush the Elder, a reserved man who, if this film is to believed, could have spared us the last eight years of abject misery by saying he was proud of his idiot son at some point. It'd be a lie, obviously, but I'm sure he'd accept that as a reasonable compromise compared with the depths we've plunged to on Dubblya's quest for parental approval.

Prime amongst the rest of the supporting cast / rouges gallery is Richard Dreyfuss' face shootin' Vice President Dick Cheney, a man played with such an evil streak that were he in a pantomime production he'd be a little too evil to be believable. The truly terrifying thing is that rather than be in a pantomime, he's pulling the strings of the most powerful nation on earth.

I'm using a lot of needless invective, because there's little else the disenfranchised can do to make themselves feel better, but the concerns that W. raises are much the same that I've been feeling for the last eight years. This isn't a portrait in cackling evil or dunderheaded stupidity. It's a look at a group of people, Jeffrey Wright's two-faced Colin Powell aside who will have his own special place in infamy, who genuinely believe that the actions they've taken are the best way forward, which represents a worldview so chillingly alien that I struggle to comprehend it.

Well, that's been an pleasing, self-absorbed vent, but it's had approximately bugger all to do with the quality of this film. The truth of this is that it's a well acted series of vignettes about Bush and his administration, all of which were already well known, Bush not exactly having kept a low profile of late, and offers nothing in the way of new insight.

Being told things that you already know isn't the most thrilling way to spend a couple of hours, as such it feels a lot longer than a couple of hours and starts certain members of the audience thinking about database schemas instead. Perhaps, like Bush himself keeps saying, history will judge this film differently, once there's some distance from his actions. That, however, seems unlikely, and certainly at the present moment there's nothing to see here that you don't, or at least shouldn't, already know. Long, dull, oddly toothless and lacking in point and focus. Very avoidable.

Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.

Oliver Stone
Cast list:
Elizabeth Banks (Laura Bush)
Josh Brolin (George W. Bush)
James Cromwell (George Herbert Walker Bush)
Richard Dreyfuss (Dick Cheney)
Scott Glenn (Donald Rumsfeld)
Toby Jones (Karl Rove)
Thandie Newton (Condoleezza Rice)
Jeffrey Wright (Gen. Colin Powell)