Director: Oliver Stone
Year Released: 2008
Odd biopic of controversial President George W. Bush, and his unlikely rise from Yale drunkard to misguided slacker to baseball team owner to Jesus Freak to the United States' first (unofficial) dictator (think about it: is there anything he wanted that he didn't get?). The tone is all over the place - it goes from surreal to dramatic to comical - with the Bush character (played wonderfully by Josh Brolin) turning out to be a rather simple man who doesn't possess much of a conscience and lets his minions (especially the diabolical Dick Cheney, masterfully done by Richard Dreyfuss) run the country (Stone also plays up the Daddy Issues too heavily). For an Oliver Stone picture it does try to keep to the facts (albeit moving a few speeches around), but that's a part of its limitation: having been exposed to this man for eight years and having seen several documentaries, interviews and commentators digging into his past, we all think we 'know' him, and the version of him Stone brings out is more or less that lefty-slanted view instead of 'challenging' the history of Bush like he did with his masterpiece on Richard Nixon and his film about John F. Kennedy (or maybe this is all there is to Dubya: the banality of evil). Perhaps allowing more time to pass - coupled with a longer running time - would have made this a different, more intricate picture, but it's difficult to say - it's also difficult to say how this movie will appear, say, twenty years in the future (when we can feel safely distanced from his regime).