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Charlie Wilson's War

7/10
Biography . History . Drama . Comedy
 

A drama based on Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets had some unforeseen and long-reaching effects.

 
Actors: Cyia Batten , Erick Avari , Rachel Nichols , John Slattery , Shiri Appleby , Om Puri , Amy Adams , Julia Roberts , Philip Seymour Hoffman , Tom Hanks
Directors: Mike Nichols
Country: USA , GERMANY
Release: 2007-12-21
More Info:
  • Rick Kisonak

    The two actors (Hanks/Seymour Hoffman) have terrific chemistry and riff off one another like partners in a veteran comedy team.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    More of a hoot than any picture dealing with the bloody, protracted fight between the Soviet Army and the Afghan mujahedeen has any right to be.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    A picture about war and politics that has manages to be both rational and inspirational. It is also the year's funniest smart movie.

    Time Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    With its rapid pace, smart screenplay, and top-notch acting, this is one of the 2007 Oscar season's most appealing and compelling adult motion pictures.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    Hanks has a good time, romping around with the assurance of a holy fool. He and Roberts seem "actorish," putting on accents and mannerisms, but they're entertaining. Hoffman is something more, a scenery-devouring force of nature irresistible as a cyclone and irreverent as a stand-up comedian at a midnight show.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    It's all about a likable scoundrel who discovers what it means to act out of conviction. The film's underlying twist, though, is tartly ironic.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Shawn Levy

    You don't often hear critics gripe that a movie isn't long or explicit enough, but Sorkin and Nichols could have gone the extra lap or so to show that Wilson's saga is more than just a story of a good ol' boy accidentally pulling off a remarkable coup; it's a sobering account of the geopolitical hijinks that gave shape to our current world.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • William Arnold

    A witty, literate, wryly sophisticated parable of American politics: just the kind of movie that Hollywood, in its search for the global audience, supposedly doesn't make anymore.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Michael Sragow

    Philip Seymour Hoffman steals the movie.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Chris Hewitt (1)

    Extremely enjoyable. Although it’s a little tonally unsure, whenever Hanks and Hoffman are on screen, any misgivings are forgiven.

    Empire Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Philip Seymour Hoffman utters one of the year's most refreshing lines in this terrific tale of political wheeling and dealing.

    Salon.com Full Review
  • Robert Wilonsky

    Dark and funny and mean and sexy, damned near pitch-black-perfect considering that at the end of this boozy comedy you wind up with, oh, Osama bin Laden.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Charlie Wilson's War is that rare Hollywood commodity these days: a smart, sophisticated entertainment for grownups.

    Variety Full Review
  • Stephen Hunter

    This movie probably gets the Washington process better than any since Otto Preminger's underrated "Advise & Consent" in 1962. It's not about men of virtue doing the impossible, but men of flaws doing the doable, but just barely.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Rude, crude and hilarious, whether he's hitting on Joanne or brokering the sale of Soviet weapons through Israel and Islamic Pakistan, Hoffman is the film's sparking live wire.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    You might think Tom Hanks is miscast as the lovable sinner. Dennis Quaid, maybe, or Woody Harrelson. But Hanks brings something unique to the role.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Has a crackling, almost farcical pace, even though its subject matter could not be more serious or complex.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jack Mathews

    Of all the Middle East-theme movies this season, Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War is the least political and most entertaining. That doesn't mean it's great, just that it's unimportant.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    This is first and foremost a farce, not unlike Nichols' "The Birdcage."

    New York Post Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Like Sorkin's D.C.-set TV series, "West Wing," his script for Charlie Wilson's War is full of rapid-fire badinage, with movers and shakers moving smart and shaking snappy as a squad of aides trot along behind, briefcases and coffee cups in tow. A decade - not to mention a war - never went by so quickly.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Mick LaSalle

    Clever and enjoyable.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    With 20/20 9/11 hindsight, it's clear that covertly arming the Mujahedeen wasn’t such a good idea after all, but neither Nichols nor Sorkin wants to spoil the fun.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    This is definitely the year of Philip Seymour Hoffman.In Charlie Wilson's War, he and Tom Hanks make a particularly sharp and engaging duo, bouncing clever lines off each other as if it were a verbal ping-pong match.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    Julia Roberts has never played a dowager before, but heaven knows she makes a good, and funny, one.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    Takes a kernel of truth and roasts it into a popcorn movie. There's terrific fun to be had, and much wry comedy too. What's missing, surprisingly given the subject matter, is any real sense of gravity.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    It's nice to watch a political movie that, for a change, isn't trying to save our souls. It's possible to have a good time with this movie while, at the same time, regretting all that it isn't.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Kirk Honeycutt

    In this film, directed by Mike Nichols in one of his most satirical moods and scripted by Hollywood's most politically astute writer Aaron Sorkin, a womanizing, alcoholic, easily tempted bachelor gets elected in a Texas district that doesn't care what he does as long as he brings home the bacon.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Philip Seymour Hoffman carries the movie. As the CIA operative who hates Communists and his myopic superiors in equal measure, he has a wily, don’t-give-a-shit drive that makes you wish he’d been in Baghdad in 2003.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Ella Taylor

    Watching Charlie Wilson’s War is like sitting through a very long episode of "The West Wing."

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • David Ansen

    Of course, hanging over this ironic tale is the deeper historical irony--that many of the "good guy" rebels Charlie is funding (and we're cheering) will become our mortal enemies...It's as if "Titanic" ended with a celebratory shipboard banquet, followed by a postscript: by the way, it sank.

    Newsweek Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    A funny, sprightly tribute to the American can-do spirit, with a bleak ending that suggests that our plucky protagonist may have just dug his own (or, in this case, his country's) grave.

    Slate Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    It packs political machination, helicopter gunships, single-malt whiskey, Las Vegas, Islamabad, naked butts, and eight years of war. The film, adapted from George Crile’s book, doesn’t always work, but it sure offers value for money.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    Nichols succeeds in spinning an entertaining yarn, but the cautionary aspects feel fatally undernourished.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It is well made as far as it goes. I wish it went beyond its own carefully prescribed limits of the commercially acceptable.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    Is, in its way, an apolitical comedy about politics. Or at least a naïve one, since those weapons likely eventually made their way into the hands of Al Qaeda.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    Perhaps there was some confusion – should we play this as a lark or a lesson in geopolitical unrest? – or maybe there was some studio involvement to defang the politics; whatever the case, the noncommittal Charlie Wilson's War treads a good-natured but yawning in-between.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Overall, Charlie Wilson's War is glib rather than witty, one of those films that comes off as being more pleased with itself than it has a right to be. It also suffers from being not all of a piece, with mismatched elements struggling to cohere.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    As creator and head writer of "The West Wing," Aaron Sorkin had a gift for making policy debate seem sexy, but what worked in the context of that liberal fantasy founders badly amid the realpolitik of this cold war drama.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    It's a fascinating story, but Mr. Nichols and his actors never stop reminding us how fascinating it is. With the exception of Mr. Hoffman, a master of understatement, everyone acts up a storm, yet context is lacking.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
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