W. - rewriting history

President George Walker Bush has nearly served out his eight-year term in office. In that time, he has drawn great praise and great criticism, enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings and some of the lowest. He has helped the country heal under great duress and cased it great pain with failed policies. He has also, Im guessing, experienced immense highs and devastating lows from a personal standpoint. I was taught from an early age that the President of our country was extended respect no matter what the situation. I distinctly remember my father reprimanding me as a youngster for watching Saturday Night Live. His opinion was that any show that made fun of the President was not worth watching (not surprisingly, his opinion made me want to watch that much more). My schoolteachers also taught me that the commander-in-chief was to be respected and admired. I remember a portrait of the President hanging prominently on the wall in many of my classrooms. Even my grandmothers house had a dime-store painting of President Kennedy that hung in her living room until the day she died. Im not sure that presidents are as glorified as they once were; nowadays they seem more human, more obviously flawed. This could be partly due to the fact that every movement of the President is monitored and recorded. One slip of the tongue or wrong move is immediately transmitted around the world for review. Our last two presidents have suffered greatly because of this microscopic analysis. At any other time, President Clinton would have progressed with his trysts unimpeded, remembered for his policies instead of his womanizing. Moreover, President Bush may have been viewed as a passionate idealist instead of a fumble-mouthed dope. Whatever the case, our world is changing. Being the president of this country means you have to be on your game 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If youre not, you will suffer at the hands of the press and the public. But the important thing to remember is that we live in a country where criticism is allowed. Short of slander, you can say anything you want about the man in charge without recourse. In fact, you can even make a movie about him, which is just what Oliver Stone has done with his newest film, W. W. looks at the life of George Bush from his college years up until the Gulf War, while paying particular attention to the people influencing his life and decisions. Most interesting is that the dialogue in this film was carefully crafted from numerous published accounts meaning there is little revisionist history. While I did enjoy this film, I couldnt help but take issue with many of the performances. In most cases the actors seemed more interested in exact caricatures than quality acting. The distraction was small but enough to detract from the overall appeal. If you are interested in politics, W. will definitely have you intrigued. However, this film will take on even more appeal if you are familiar with the inner players (Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rove, Wolfowitz, etc) and their particular roles in the administration. Whether you love the President of hate him, this movie will have you thinking. A dramatic B for W.

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