Saturday, December 22, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

Few directors do political comedy as well as Mike Nichols. Few writers do smart dialogue as well as Aaron Sorkin. Together they have given us one of the best films of 2007: Charlie Wilson's War.

Part of the beauty of this film is that it is a smart ensemble piece: it has huge stars in it (Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts) but they play nicely with others here to create an intelligent account of one of the weirder bits of recent American history. They are joined by Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is wonderful as always, Amy Adams, and a cast of lesser known names every one of which shines.

Yes, it is a political movie, but it didn't feel ponderous or preachy. It does explain, without going all pedantic on us, how Afghanistan became a refuge for Muslim religious fanatics. It reminds us that the Cold War may be over, but that it will haunt us for a long, long time. It also reminds us that there was once a time when liberals and conservatives didn't agree on much, but they could work together and get things done: imagine that.

It does all that and is still a darn good time, judging from the laughter tonight in the theater. Thumb's up!


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