Sunday, January 13, 2008

Expecting More

Last night, Anthony, Heather and I checked out the movie "Charlie Wilson's War." It's the true story of a U.S. Congressman from Texas who, in the 1980s, steered hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars into covert C.I.A. operations in Afghanistan against the invading Soviet army.

"Charlie Wilson's War" boasts an A-list cast, including Tom Hanks in the title role and Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring, a politically-active Houston socialite who lobbies for the funding. Phillip Seymour Hoffman portrays Gust Avrakotos, a colorful C.I.A. agent on the Afghanistan desk.

(Pittsburgh connection alert: According to Wikipedia, Avrakotos was born in Aliquippa, PA, attended Pitt and Carnegie Tech and later retired to Moon Township.)

"Charlie Wilson's War" was reasonably entertaining but not a blow-away. With direction from Academy Award-winner Mike Nichols and a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing"), I had expected more -- a political movie more on par with Nichols' superb 1998 film "Primary Colors." There were some holes in the script and the ending was too schmaltzy.

Hanks and Roberts both turned in adequate performances but didn't break any new ground. Hoffman was brilliant, as always, and vanished into the role.

I'm not certain if this was meant to be a message film or not. Certainly, it did raise a lot of questions about U.S. intervention in foreign affairs. But, I'm not sure it fully delivered on the promise to show how the C.I.A. involvement in Afghanistan in the '80s contributed to the rise of the Taliban in that country -- and all of the problems that entailed.

My recommendation? Wait for the DVD. "Charlie Wilson's War" would make a good movie for a wintry Saturday night at home on the couch.

1 comment:

Welch Family Blog said...

Should you own a couch before recommending that someone use a couch? Something to ponder.....