Charlie Wilson’s War, written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by George Crile
10 out of 10
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This film is a stupendous achievement.
It is a work based on real events, a great victory in the cold war against the Evil Empire, with all the elements of a great drama.
This is also comedy at its best, with a complex hero, Charlie Wilson, played perfectly by the phenomenal Tom Hanks.
Mike Nichols is the magnificent director of this moving picture and he was at the helm of fabulous classics like:
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, The Graduate, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Heartburn, Working Girl and Wolf
The cast working on this film could not be any better, from the Leading roles to the short apparition of Jane Liddle:
- Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, the late, sensational Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt
The narrative has all the ingredients needed for a worthwhile work, with humor, irony, astonishing victory against the Soviet Union, but also incredible mistakes and disasters, conflicts within the CIA and Congress.
A sustained diplomacy is at work, with the Israeli Mossad joining the frame, the freedom fighters getting support and then training that they would later use against their ally, the United States that is still losing people as we speak in Afghanistan.
- “Charlie Wilson: You're no James Bond.
- Gust Avrakotos: You're no Thomas Jefferson, either. Let's call it even.’
Gust Avrakotos is portrayed with the usual mastery and fantastic skill by the regretted Philip Seymour Hoffman.
He is the man in charge on the Afghanistan issue and he has humor enough for three films, even when the situation is dramatic- like for instance when he is asked about the US strategy on that country and he says there is none, but they are working on it- who?- well…”Me and three other guys”…
At the start of the movie, we realize that the Soviet Union has invaded an independent country and the US does little to nothing about it:
- “Gust Avrakotos: I'm reading transcripts of phone conversations between French and German generals arguing over office space at NATO headquarters, and analyzing wire-taps out of Mercury Bay, New Zealand. You know, historically, a hotbed of anti-American activity.”
Gust Avrakotos is clearly a gifted man, if conflictual and impulsive, but he is misused to say the least, his skills used for the aforementioned.
Charlie Wilson learns about and gets involved on this War and slowly but surely increases the budget for the operations.
In fact, the first lines of this motion picture pretty much sum up the merits of this man who contributed to…The Fall of The Soviet Empire:
CIA Award Presenter: The defeat and breakup of the Soviet empire, culminating in the crumbing of the Berlin wall, is one of the great events of world history. There were many heroes in this battle but to Charlie Wilson must go this special recognition. Just thirteen years ago the Soviet army appeared to be invincible. But Charlie, undeterred, engineered a lethal body blow that weakened the communist empire. Without Charlie, history would be hugely and sadly different. And so for the first time a civilian is being given our highest recognition: that of honored colleague.
Having said that, the character is even more interesting than that for he was not just imperfect, but really far from being an angel.
He was a womanizer and before his great achievement in this first Afghan war, his “greatest performance in six terms was getting reelected five times” in the same Gus, who works for the Department of Agriculture…officially.
“Gust Avrakotos: There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "We’ll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. And everybody in the village says, "How wonderful."
Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."
This other example of fine, smart, philosophical even dialogue that explains what happened and how the training given to those who fought against the Evil Empire might turn out to be a bad thing after all…”We shall see.”