October 18, 2008

W., The Movie

I couldn't wait to see Oliver Stone's new movie, W. Reviews from friends and media personalities promised a hilarious movie, like an SNL skit, yet moving in a way that leaves the viewer almost feeling sorry for George Bush.

So, I saw the movie today. At the well-attended afternoon showing, about a fourth of the audience laughed out loud at W's naive, blundering behavior and at the foolishness of the Bush Administration's war deliberations. But I couldn't laugh; maybe the events are just too painfully real for me.

In no way does Stone portray Bush as diabolical. Oddly enough, not even Dick Cheney is portrayed as a villain. If there is a villain, it's "41," the indulging but disapproving father. Forty-three is portrayed more as a sad victim. For me, that is where Stone's story diverges from reality. As Vincent Bugliosi has pointed out, George W. Bush's public behavior has been glib, cavalier, and callous. This man is not a victim. He is not a sad or remorseful man. Despite Stone's oddly sympathetic portrayal, I did not leave the theater feeling sorry for George W. Bush. Instead, I left scratching my head, wondering what Oliver Stone is trying to say with this movie.

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