Set in the early 1980s, and based on a true story, Charlie Wilson’s War stars Tom Hanks as the eponymous Texas congressman – a fun-loving, hard-drinking, womanizer (Cinesmith’s kind of politician, in other words), who uses his membership of several key committees to covertly fund Afghan rebels fighting against the Soviets.
The film succeeds in being very amusing, and in making its political point – not surprising given that it was written by West Wing creator, Aaron Sorkin. But while Charlie Wilson’s War manages to keep the sharp dialogue and tight plotting of Sorkin’s TV work, it never falls prey to the preachiness that characterized The West Wing in its lesser moments. Credit for that is probably due to director Mike Nichols, the man behind classics like The Graduate, and top political satire Primary Colours.
Tom Hanks gets excellent support from Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a CIA analyst with ‘anger management issues’, while Julia Roberts supplies some additional star-power. If only working in politics was really so glamorous. Watch the trailer here.