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Charlie Wilson's War
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- Package Dimensions : 18.03 x 13.76 x 1.48 cm; 83.16 Grams
- Media Format : UK Import, Blu-ray
- Run time : 1 hour and 42 minutes
- Subtitles: : English, French, Spanish
- Language : Unqualified (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
- Studio : Universal Studios
- ASIN : B005FA0FZU
- Number of discs : 1
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- 37,726 in Movies (Movies & TV)
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Oscar nominated drama starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Based on the book by George Crile, the movie tells the story of how one congressman who loved a good time, one Houston socialite who loved a good cause and one renegade CIA agent who loved a good fight conspired to bring about the largest covert operation in history. In the early 1980s, Charlie Wilson (Hanks) is a womanising US congressional representative from Texas. With the help of maverick CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), Wilson dedicates his political efforts to supply the Afghan mujahideen with the weapons and support required to defeat the Soviet Union. However, Charlie eventually learns that military victory can only be achieved at a great price.
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Those should be the making of an amazing film. And they nearly are. Nearly, but not quite.
Charlie Wilson's War is the real life story of how an undistinguished American congressman found a purpose to his political career beyond enjoying the drink, drugs and women - helping the Afghan opposition to the then occupying Soviet military forces. What started as a relatively small $5 million increase in US covert funding for the Afghan opposition spiralled over time into a multi-billion dollar operation.
Tempting as it is to exaggerate the impact of any one person when retelling part of history, in this case most of that change in support for the Afghan opposition - and the huge influence it had on defeating the Soviet military - does indeed seem to be down to Charlie Wilson.
The real man himself features in two fascinating extras on the DVD and in the actual film is portrayed skillfully by Tom Hanks. Many of the other performances are also fine, and the script sizzles at times with Sorkin's trademark intense verbal wit. But the film also has its flaws, such as the uneven interweaving of at times surprisingly amateurish looking attempted footage of war scenes.
So a very enjoyable film about a fascinating example of a politician finding a way to use a relative humble position in the political pecking order to change the world - but not quite the all-time classic movie its ingredients gave hope for.
One annoyance about the DVD - it comes with an enforced, non-skippable, four minute long advert at the start. The advert is for a good cause (UNICEF) but even so, it's a long sequence to be forced to watch.
This could have been made with unknown actors in a far more convincing way- although, of course, it would have had very little "Box office" appeal..
The film's account of historical events should not be confused with History. The Berlin wall falling had nothing to do with Russian defeat in Afghan, and everything to do with events in Eastern Europe and Gorbachev's refusal to send in the tanks. Gorbie, not Charlie, was the real hero in the downfall of Soviet totalitarianism. Arming and training the Mujahiddin may have seemed a good idea at the time, but it is difficult to see how that helped anyone in the refugee camps to a better life. The same Mujahiddin, trained and armed by the USA, having killed lots of Russian conscripts, then went on to kill lots of Americans and Brits across the globe. The same people are still killing Americans and Brits in Afghan today; thanks a bunch Charlie.