1 hour, 37 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.
The Making of Charlie Wilson's War; Who Is Charlie Wilson?
Tom Hanks ... Rep. Charlie Wilson
Amy Adams ... Bonnie Bach
Julia Roberts ... Joanne Herring
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Gust Avrakotos
Emily Blunt ... Jane Liddle
Denis O'Hare ... Harold Holt
Ned Beatty ... Rep. Doc Long
Tracy Phillips ... Bellydancer
Aharon Ipalé ... Egyptian Defense Minister
This is the fascinating true story of a freewheeling Texas Congressman (Tom Hanks "Forrest Gump") from the Second Congressional District of Texas, a Democrat during the Reagan administration who was passionate about patriotism, booze and women (in that order). Together with wealthy Houston socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts "Pretty Woman") and dedicated CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman "Capote"), a blue-collar Greek American, they conspired to bring about the largest covert operation in U.S. history.
When the Russians invaded Afghanistan in the early 1980s, the Afghan freedom fighters were outnumbered and ill-equipped to strike back against their invaders. But Gust has special contacts who knew about the kinds of weapons needed to fight the seemingly invulnerable Soviet Mil Mi-24 helicopter gunships that were flying over the country shooting and killing the defenseless Afghans. Over the course of 9 years, Charlie, Joanne and Gust pushed to increase financial support of the Afghan people from a measly $5 million-per-year to a whopping $1 billion annually. But little did they realize that by helping the underdogs defeat the Russians, they would wind up arming our future enemies.
Director Mike Nichols ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe") moves the film along at a brisk pace, and he also brings out the best in his performers. It's been a long while since Tom Hanks had such a chance to prove his acting ability and Julia Roberts is equally excellent although she's only in a few scenes. Amy Adams ("Enchanted") as Charlie's Wilson's right hand gal is also well cast, but it is Philip Seymour Hoffman as the wily CIA operative who steals the movie.
Wisely they have chosen the sharp-minded, politically-astute screenwriter Aaron Sorkin ("A Few Good Men") to adapt the best-selling book by George Crile. After years of writing and producing TV's “The West Wing” there was no one better suited to reworking this challenging, complex story. He has turned this 500 page book into an entertaining movie with witty dialogue and fully-defined characters, and still manages to convey the complicated machinations of the couvert operation without too much exposition.
This may be the lightest of the political films that have been released in the last several months, but it is by far the best. With its rapid pace, smart screenplay, and top-notch acting, this is one of the year's most appealing and compelling adult movies.