MONKEY REVIEW: Charlie Wilson’s War

April 27, 2008

“These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world… and then we fucked up the endgame.” – Charlie Wilson

For the first half of the movie, anyway, Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War feels like the best political comedy since Dr. Strangelove. Wilson was the liberal Texas congressman who, after an eye opening visit to a vast Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan in 1979, used his connections to vastly increase military aid to the Afghans in their war against Russian forces. This eventually turned the tide of the conflict, and ten years later, the Russian forces pulled out of Afghanistan. Not long after, the USSR collapsed, for which the movie plainly gives Wilson a good deal of credit. While, to paraphrase Wilson himself, the movie doesn’t quite fuck up its endgame, it doesn’t seem to really know how to end, either, and so it more or less just stops telling its story. Until then, however, it’s fast paced, very entertaining and frequently hilarious, with eminently quotable dialogue and great performances by Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Gust Avrakotos, a CIA operative who works with Wilson on his back room political machinations. Julia Roberts is also very good as a rich Texas socialite who initially presses Wilson into action, and Amy Adams has some great moments as Wilson’s administrative assistant. Though it just misses out on being a great American political comedy, Charlie Wilson’s War is still a very good one, and worth your time.

MONKEY RATING: ONE MONKEY

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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4 Responses to “MONKEY REVIEW: Charlie Wilson’s War”

  1. aniche Says:

    saw it one time, was oddly engaging but having said that wouldn’t be able to sit through it again, not even for five minutes.

  2. radiondn Says:

    I would see it again just to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who is hilarious in this movie.

  3. Valerie Says:

    I haven’t seen it yet, but I hear it has greyhounds. And, honestly, who needs monkeys when you have greyhounds?

  4. radiondn Says:

    It DOES in fact have greyhounds. No monkeys, but definitely greyhounds, and they feature in one of the funniest sight gags in the movie.


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