Oliver Stone :: USA :: 2008 :: 2h
From his student fraternity days to meetings in the White House, Oliver Stone’s biography is not a very uplifting film to watch, neither is it particularly informative. We see George W Bush (Josh Brolin) as a drunken cowboy in Texas who, after scraping by at university, can not manage even a simple job. The rising power of his father helps him out, but even more so, puts a pressure on him that he can not take. The movie is a portrait which could be summarised as an immature, undeveloped man who lives, and cracks, under the shadow of his unappreciative father.
It is of course worrying that the US president actually resembles the incompetent drop-out shown in the movie. Positive qualities attributed to his character are humour, kindness to others and a Christian determination to do the right thing, but in the movie they are completely over-shadowed by his incompetence and sheer lack of intelligence. The whole tale follows a “loser” from beginning to end, with about his only notable success being Laura Bush. He is shown to be manipulated by many people, most notably by his vice, Dick Cheney, who the movie suggests held the real power during his time in office.
The French title shows the angle which Oliver Stone wanted to take: how improbable is it that such a man could become the leader of the USA? This question, unfortunately, is left unanswered. George Bush is portrayed as not knowing anything about anything, not having read anything of value and possessing none of the skills (besides his overlooked charisma) required for running even a small enterprise. How such a man could have made his way through the system on his name alone remains a mystery. This is probably the biggest flaw in the movie, which leaves us with rather little to contemplate. Stone gives us two hours of watching an idiot dig himself deeper into trouble and that is not encouraging. You need a healthy mix of sadism and masochism to see this through to the end, as it no longer can serve any political purpose and the main character is now thankfully out of harms way.