Saturday, 12 April 2008

Charlie Wilson's War...

While the content is before my political time, and certainly even (for half of the plot at least) just flat-out before my time full stop, the subject still makes an impact. It's certainly understandable why this film was made, what with the current situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

What I found most affecting about the film, was that it showed us how much money and effort was put into fighting the 'Commie Bastard' Russians in Afghanistan ($1 billion) and how 'they' just ditched the battered and bruised people (over half of which were under the age of 14) by not ponying up a comparatively measly sum of cash for education and the like.

It speaks volumes about the current situation, a catch 22 even. Either leave the troops in both territories and lose further lives (on both sides), or pull out too soon yet again after turning two country's population's lives upside down before the bad guys ultimately regain control, therefore making the entire war completely pointless, thus making the lives lost on both sides mean absolutely nothing - nobody would have died for anything. You get the feeling that the US government doesn't have a great deal of patience for anything outside of easy-to-understand 'shoot and kill' that lasts for anything longer than a year ... both from this film, and from the current political climate.

News flash, wars take a long time, they're devastating and horrible things which happen because they seek to put a stop to something else that is devastating and horrible from happening. It's the ultimate catch 22, but it cannot be achieved in six months, and the fighting certainly doesn't stop after the last bullets have been fired.

History is tragically repeating itself, and this is one of the issues that the darkly comic Charlie Wilson's War flags up for our attention.

While I didn't understand certain things regarding the American political system (hell, it's hard enough to understand the absolute garbage being thrown around by the current government here in the UK), just as a subtle black comedy it works, and reminds us that there's not enough Tom Hanks on the big screen these days.

A bit more thought is required for this one, and at times it can become quite dark when signaling up the horrid reality of the Afghan plight, but it can equally be enjoyed as a political farce in some respects, and indeed the two central performances (Hanks & Hoffman) are a joy to watch.

Ultimately it is a refreshing watch, it never decidedly strays into either side of the political spectrum, instead deciding to leave the politics and ethics balanced and open to the viewer's own interpretation. Indeed, the closing statement denoting "...we just fucked up the end game" speaks volumes in itself.

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