In a fit of Friday night boredom I saw the new film W. by director Oliver Stone. Up to about three weeks ago I hadn’t heard of the movie, but its been getting a lot of criticism and controvery for its audacious premise of portraying the administration of a sitting president. So our of curiosity and boredom I paid to see it.
My first impression was how incredible the portrayals of the members of Bush’s administration were. Josh Brolin as Bush 43 was so convincing that by the middle of the movie I didn’t feel like I was watching a portrayal of Bush but rather the man himself. Bush 43 has a certain persona about him thats unique and Brolin definitely got his dialect and movements down to a science. His portrayal alone was enough to make the movie interesting.
As a whole I expected the movie to come across with a critical tone towards the administration in its handling of the lead up to the Iraq War, and at times the movie does cast some members of the administration in a very deceptive, canniving way. But as a whole, the movie portrayed Bush 43 more as the victim of a dominating father and unfortunate circumstances rather than as a lying, idiotic leader with an agenda. The relationship between Bush 43 and Bush 41 is the dominating conflict throughout the movie and proves to be Bush 43’s motivation for many of his actions. He is portrayed as the disappointment of a son to a successful politican with a family name to preserve; a restless soul who can’t seem to find what he wants but cannot do what he wants without disappointing his father in some way.
I was also unsure about how they might portray Bush’s conversion experience considering the role that his “born-again” faith played in his presidential campaign. As a whole his experience in the movie proved to be the turning point in his life. He overcame the demons of his alcoholism and finally began to pull his life together and gain some respect with his father by working on his campaign. The exact details of his conversion are not very specific in the film, save for a scene where the stereotypical southern preacher instructs the hurting Bush with the stereotypical Christianeze answers to Bush’s hardships. His conversion in the movie seems apparent, as at this point Bush begins to pull his life together and succeed in his politlcal career. The Bush at the end of the movie has quite apparently matured beyond the bad judgment of his youth, a man who feels as if he is doing right with the country but finds himself caught in the crosshairs of history, in a position he never imagined and unsure of the correct path to take.
The final scene of the movie summarizes movie’s position toward the president: Standing in the middle of the ballpark he owns, Bush imagines playing centerfield in the game he loves, hearing the crack of the ball off the bat, and seeing the ball rise into the air above the field. He positions himself under the ball, but the ball never falls. In the perfect opportunity for a big, game-changing play, he loses the ball in the lights.