It was inevitable that George W Bush, one of the most controversial and humorous political figures of the decade, would get his own biopic. That Oliver Stone, cinema’s great conspiracy theorist, would be the one to make it was similarly likely. The only shock is that it came out so immediately.
There’s really no new ground being covered here with well-documented phases of his life used as focal points, such as his wild college years and, y’know, invading Iraq. What makes them work and seem fresh is the depiction of Dubya at these moments. We’re so used to seeing him as an iconic figure that the treatment of him as a human with both strengths and flaws is a refreshingly different, and at times sympathetic, approach. This might also be the funniest movie Stone has ever made.
The character-based moments, however, are hampered by the way they are pieced together. The flashbacks seem a little pointless – more interested in slick scene transitions than laying out the overarching narrative. Although this is a character study, its rejection of a traditional plot robs some scenes of maximum impact and ultimately leaves you feeling like you’re watching the smashed shards of a quality film hastily re-assembled.
W is an interesting insight into the life of a privileged, rather ordinary guy and how he miraculously became the most powerful man in the world. But despite memorable stanzas, it’s too uneven to be classified must-see.