Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Movie: Charlie Wilson's War

I saw Charlie Wilson's War yesterday with my younger son. I rather liked it, but it's hardly a classic.

There's very little depth to this story, and that little is mostly provided by Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson--he's the only character that even approaches fully-fleshed-out in the film, despite glimpses of lots of interesting people. I wish there had been more of something: more of Charlie's office staff (all girls, and in the end titles you find out they were called "Charlie's Angels," but there's nothing in the film about it), more of the rich Texas feminist played by Julia Roberts, or more to the frequently-on-screen yet never really revealed CIA agent portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

But there's not, and the film turns into a recital of dates and facts lightly decorated with brief anecdotes and snapshots. I liked it well enough: I don't want my money or those two hours back, and if I noticed it while channel-surfing I might watch part of it again (on delay through the TiVo so I can fast-forward the boring parts). I wanted to love it, it came very close; in fact on our way out of the theater my son remarked that there must be the rest of the parts of a very good film on the cutting room floor, you could tell because the dialog was good.

So I recommend it, but not strongly.

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