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Movie Review: Charlie Wilson's War

Alternate Title: Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Story: A whole heck of a lot of talent went into this entertaining, fast paced, intelligent, made for grown-ups film by director, Mike Nichols. It is based on the book, by George Crile with a West Wing style screenplay by the very talented, Aaron Sorkin.

The film is based on the true story of free wheeling, party loving, boozing, womanizing, good time Texas Democratic Congressman, Charlie Wilson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Wilson_(politician) and how he managed to lead the covert war against the Soviet Union when they invaded Afghanistan during the 1980's. In lesser hands this could have simply been another boring, Monday morning quarter-backing film based on a piece of history that most Americans either did not know about or did not care about while it was happening. We are now, of course, reaping the repercussions of those seemingly righteous acts of the 80's today. But that's another story for another film on another day.

Charlie Wilson teams up with CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and right wing Texas millionaire, Joanne Herring to get the backing and funding for weapons to ultimately help beat the Soviets. If this story were not true - you would not believe it.

Everything about the film is first rate. However, if you have no interest in politics and have trouble paying attention to lots of dialogue (even if some of it is very funny) you will not enjoy his film as much as I did. Everyone else should definitely put this film on their must see list.

Acting: Tom Hanks delivers his usual right on target performance. Not many actors could play a womanizer a get away with it. But Hanks' all American charm pulls it off just fine. Philip Seymour Hoffman is having a heck of a year. He is terrific as Gust Avrakotos and almost makes the other actors disappear form the screen when he appears. Julia Roberts did not work as well for me. I did not buy her role at all as the Texas right winger. Amy Adams is also having one great year and once again, does a fine job.

Predilection: I like political films.

Critters: Two dogs

Food: Not much food but a heck of a lot of booze.

Sex Spectrum: There is a hot tub scene with a number of boob shots and we also get to see Tom Hanks' butt.

Blatant Product Placement: Slim Fast, Glenlivet

Soundtrack: A fine mix of tunes and a terrific sequence during the war scenes.

Opening Titles: Everything but the name of the film is at the end.

Theater Audience: Crowded for the first showing on a Saturday morning. I laughed the loudest at the one liners.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Watching the inner workings of Congress makes for a few very squirmy moments.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Who knows? Perhaps.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen. For some of my other favorite Mike Nichols' films try renting: Closer HBO’s "Angels in America", Primary Colors, Wolf, Biloxi Blues, Silkwood, Carnal Knowledge, Catch-22 , Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the fabulous, The Graduate

Length: 95 minutes