Thesis: Film W. By Oliver Stone

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¶ … Film W. By Oliver Stone

The timing and media hype of this film have all added to the anticipation of its release. With the coming election and George W. bush being the outgoing president, the disastrous state of the economy after his eight years in office and the election of a new president have all added to the public anticipation of this event. The single letter W. is an interesting title as well, at first you are not sure what it means and then you get that it is his middle initial, standing for Washington, also too symbolic. I believe the only other movie that had a single letter for a title was M. By Fritz Lang, the story of a child murderer played by Peter Lorre. And in case you haven't noticed M. By the way is an upside down W. While I might think it was just coincided, the conspiracy theory penchant of director Oliver Stone unquestionably would have me thinking otherwise.

There has been a poster for this film in my local theater prior to any commercials or trailers being shown for several months. At first glance I did not really take notice of what the subject matter could be, I did recognize Josh Brolin, but other than that was not quite sure about it. After going past it a few times I realized I was looking at someone playing George W. Bush and then saw that Oliver Stone is the director and decided to keep an eye out for its opening.

Currently there is a You-Tube trailer that Stone himself has created which gives the impression at first that this is going to be a biographical project about W.'s life. Although there does seem a little sense of caricature in the way certain images are being presented. But my initial impression is of a strait biographical genre film, or biopic as it is known in the industry. But then there is the tag line almost in such small print as to be missed: "A life misunderestimated." That tells you that the audience may be in for something else.

In writing this section prior to viewing the film or reading any criticism, my conceptions of the genre is that it will certainly be biographical, but with a satiric or somewhat or at best and over dramatized bent. In researching the marketing campaigns for some that I may have missed I came across the very first posters that were sent out for the films promotion. They were simply a large letter W. with the pronunciation guide underneath, "dub-ya" and then a paragraph of highly recognizable malapropisms uttered by our current Commander in Chief (the poster is attached as an appendix). This poster would certainly have attracted some interest by its lack of explanation. It had no references to any movie promotion, other than the inference that they were displayed in theaters. The subsequent posters that followed were the ones that are currently begin displayed, with Josh Brolin sitting at W.'s desk in the oval office.

Most of the film buffs talking about the movie are certainly expecting it to be a very satirical and amusing take on the life and the presidency of George W. Bush. Most of the people I have talked to about it seem to feel the same. The movie's website itself is graphically interesting but rather simplistic. It opens with an exaggerated image of Brolin as bush screaming and there is a countdown, like a time bomb waiting to go off that is set for Friday 12:01 AM, and words above it that say "you are out of time." While all this appears to have somewhat of a comical bent, knowing something about Oliver Stone and the types of serious movies he has been know for, there may be some misconception brewing here. A film with an almost identical topic of his was Nixon and it would hardly have been considered comedic at all, in fact it was a little frightening. Furthermore, in reviewing his list of films only one, Dave, would truly be considered a comedy.

In interviews that were released early in October, Stone talks about the vast amount of research into the life and times of the president as well as the man W., which brings us back to a straight biopic genre of a film.

The promoted Genre is certainly biopic, as previously stated, but in thinking about the film Nixon, Oliver Stone's biopoics certainly seem to be in a genre of their own. Some early quotes by Stone have him saying that his film is not meant to be Anti-Bush and that he has stuck with the facts as much as possible. By using camera angles and odd shots Stone has the ability to create an opening into the psyche of the person under scrutiny, or at least give you his slightly biased impression of them. So going into this film I am trying to keep an open mind, but I know that my previous experience with the director as well and the advertising certainly has me thinking as well as wondering about it.

Timing is often a critical issue in the release of a movie and while the few interviews I read seem to have Stone downplaying the release so close to the election, I can not believe it is a coincidence that the producers of the film had chosen to release it at this time. It is certainly one of the most prominent thoughts in my mind and I also wonder how the public at large will react to it. After each of the presidential debates all the news agencies conducted polls of the undecided voters to ascertain whether or not they were influence by either candidate performance. Will the same be true after this film is release? Will undecided voters be swayed by the film and it presentation of the incumbent republican president? That remains to be seen and I certainly forward to seeing it.

After seeing the film I must say that I was certainly not disappointed. While it was a little different than I expected, by and large it gave what was promised, a biopic of the man George W. Bush. Stone presented a human side of the president for the entire world to see. In the first few minutes of the film it is obvious that it is certainly an Oliver Stone creation. While he has always had the tendency to be truthful to a point and realistic, he also put some of the surreal in so that a more emotional feeling for his characters can be gained.

The one thing that I walked away with that was a surprise and certainly unexpected was an empathy for the man and his "lot in life" so to speak. While having heard a little about his early years as a philanderer and a playboy, which has well covered in the movie, I had always wondered what is was like to have a father that was president. Then what it was like later to become president himself after him and ultimately capture his father's worst enemy, Saddam Hussein. Secretly most Americans had always felt that this was the reason for the war, that it was personal and in Stone's creation that certainly came out.

I was not disappointed with the humorous and satiric nature of the film, which was for the most part not forced but composed of true to life scene and unmistakable lines. However, there were often not in accurate context. For instance, my favorite line "Fool me once, shame on your fool me twice, you, you can't fool me again." Was in a public speech but in the film it was presented during a joint chief of staff meeting. I wondered… [END OF PREVIEW]

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