Phillip Seymore Hoffman
The story is what I found to be the best part of the film and it wasnít explored fully enough. The whole idea of one guy leading the effort to end the Cold War is fascinating in and of itself. The fact that itís a true story is even that much more amazing. Wilson went through a lot more than what we saw on film and a further exploration into his political maneuvering would have been nice. There was also more drama between the Middle Eastern countries that was only barely touched on in the film. There was also plenty of room to make some statements on the state of politics in America. After all, how is it possible for one guy to manipulate his way into an entire war? But the filmmakers didnít address this or other serious topics and instead made the entire story seem fluffy and a little too cheery.
In fact, once the story got going, it went too fast. We went from seeing Charlie Wilson in a hot tub with some strippers to seeing him end the cold war in about 90 minutes. I think this was due in large part to the filmmakers not being sure what kind of movie they wanted. You could decipher that much from the previews. It turned out to be a comedy with a little drama mixed in, but it would have served better the other way around. The subject matter was serious, even if the main character wasnít and that fact seemed to be lost on the filmmakers at times.
Of course Tom, Julia and Phillip were great, as they usually are. The filmmakers may have relied too heavily on Tom Hanksí charm to carry the film. It did carry the film, but it wasnít enough to make the film great. If they had combined his charm and acting talent with a deeply explored script and story, this would have been the best film of the year. Instead, it ended up being only a good film that felt a little empty and rushed.
Who is Charlie Wilson? (12:22): I could have used more than 12 minutes dedicated to the real Charlie Wilson, but they try to cram a lot of information into the 12 minutes. They didnít focus too much on the other characters and this DVD really needed a featurette focusing on what really happened. This was decent, but I wanted more.
There are also some Previews