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Last Modified 2008-05-07 6:12 PM EDT

Charlie Wilson's War

[Amazon Link] [3.0
stars] [IMDb Link] This is a movie about how Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, and won the Cold War.

Tom Hanks plays Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson (D). One of his constituents, Joanne King Herring (Julia R.), is a dedicated anti-Communist, and she enlists Charlie in a scheme to provide upgraded weaponry to the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the invading Soviets. Also along for the ride is a profane rule-breaking CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour H).

All three characters are extremely colorful and interesting, and are given sparkling witty dialog by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin; it often falls over into glib wisecrackery. Wilson is a depicted as a larger-than-life hard-living womanizer, and it's not exactly an easy fit for Tom Hanks. But he does his best, which is pretty good.

Also in this is Amy Adams, playing Wilson's Gal Friday. She has the movie's best scene, sitting at the bottom of a staircase in Herring's mansion, with Herring's dogs, dolefully sipping a martini that Herring had demanded she fetch, and then forgot about.

The film's relationship with actual history is far from tight. You might want to check out Paul Kengor's comparison of the history presented in Charlie Wilson's War with what actually happened. Kengor thinks the movie ignored Bill Casey, Bill Clark, Cap Weinberger, and (of course) Ronald Reagan. He thinks that's a shame, and so do I.


Last Modified 2012-10-12 7:48 AM EDT