Posts from 22nd November 2008

Nov 08

W. Was A Brolin Stone (Production)

Do You See + FT3 comments • 342 views

There are two great, if not stone cold classic, aspects to Oliver Stone’s W. Put aside the fact that Stone has somehow managed to wander back from the wilderness of his own self-indulgence and succeed in making entertaining a film no-one really wanted to see, there are two things which will make this seemingly ephemeral election stunt film linger in film history. The first is simply the central performance. Josh Brolin is mesmeric in the lead role. Is he playing George W. Bush? Not for a minute. Most of the time he seems to be channelling Dennis Quaid with a Bush accent at his most starry, perhaps Quaid was injected in his Inner Space capsule and is controlling Brolin. That might explain how Brolin has gone from shitty bitty parts and bad guys two years ago into this confident, bulletproof performer. But there is never a moment in this film you don’t want to watch him. He oozes unpredictability in a role which is all about the predictable. We know what happens, we know when it happens and we have pretty firm ideas how it happens (which the film is in no hurry to disagree with). And yet in making George W.Bush not necessarily sympathetic, but endlessly watchable Josh Brolin is really just saying how great he is. And I would rather watch a proper star play with an audience than an impersonation any day.

But this hints to the other area of greatness in W. When Oliver Stone announced the project, it was easy to imagine what he might turn out. Released a few weeks before the election to remind Americans of the terrible mistakes they had made in the previous elections, W. clearly had to be a partisan Democrat’s film bashing the Republicans.