Nation’s most influential father-son duo make it to big screen

The subject for Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone’s new movie, “W.”, is none other than the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.
Coming off excellent roles in movies such as “American Gangster,” “Planet Terror” and the Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men,” Josh Brolin is truly amazing as the current president.
When Brolin portrays W. in his fraternity days, Brolin barely resembles the Bush we know today . Later on, as Bush gets older, we see Brolin adapt to Bush’s speech patterns and mannerisms and become more like our current president.
Aside from Brolin’s performance, James Cromwell gives a great performance as George H.W. Bush.
In “W.” he commands the screen with his presence in every scene. Cromwell’s interpretation of Bush Sr. does not come across as a parody of the former president like former “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Dana Carvey’s impression of the elder Bush.
While the movie mainly focuses on the ups and downs of President Bush’s life, the real heart of the movie comes from the turbulent father-son relationship between Bush and his “poppy.”
Brolin and Cromwell’s portrayals of the two Bushes are tremendous, especially when the two actors share a scene together. Early on in the movie, Bush Sr. is disappointed with his son because he quits jobs that his father sets him up with. George H.W. Bush does not have faith in his eldest son’s future ambitions. This causes a chain reaction of events in which George W. Bush begins to do everything in his power to prove to his dad that he is not worthless, whether it is running for governor of Texas or owning a major league baseball team.
The cast of “W.” is outstanding.
Playing the Vice President that oozes with charm and evil is Oscar-winner Richard Dreyfuss.
Jeffery Wright plays Colin Powell as a man asking for a legitimate reason for going to war with Iraq.
British actor Toby Jones plays the man who tells W. what to say, Karl Rove.
Finally, we have Elizabeth Banks playing Laura Bush, the loving and loyal wife of George W. Bush.
“W.” is Oliver Stone’s third presidential-era film, following “JFK” in 1991 and “Nixon” in 1995.
While “JFK” focuses more on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, “Nixon” was basically the biographical story of Nixon from his days as a little boy to his disgraceful resignation.
There are two storylines covered in the film. One storyline focuses on Bush’s partying days, his sobriety and decisions that will lead up to having a career as a politician.
The other is the events that lead up to the Iraq War. I have to say that Stone loves extreme close-ups, because “W.,” much like “Nixon,” has a certain amount of those shots in both films.
One clear example of this in “W.” is when Bush junior is jogging in the woods and the camera is mainly focused on his face before he has a breakdown.
There are also a couple of instances in which Stone plays with fantastical elements such as the older Bush taking a swing at his oldest son in the Oval Office and our current president catching a home run ball in Yankee Stadium.
Brilliant performances from Josh Brolin and James Cromwell, outstanding ensemble and great direction from Oliver Stone make “W.” one of the best movies of 2008.
W: 4.5 stars out of 5


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