Charlie Wilson’s War is a very simple film about a US Congressman who, almost singlehandedly, was responsible for the largest covert war in history.
Set in the early- and mid-1980’s, when the Soviet Army had invaded Afghanistan, Charlie Wilson is a Congressman from Texas, who conspires with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Gust Avrakotos to covertly fund the Afghan rebels resisting the Soviet invasions.
Starring Tom Hanks in the titular role, Charlie Wilson’s War is a dark comedy of sorts, with a very unfunny underbelly. The jokes are fast, furious, funny and there is certainly no shortage of them. On occasion, the jokes come so thick and fast that it borders on farce – I say this purely as a compliment.
However, there is the underbelly I mentioned before, and it is very dark, for when all is said and done, this is a comedy about the men who set out to arm rebels with machine guns and anti-aircraft weaponry to the tune of €1 billion without anyone noticing, yet who were unable to appropriate a mere €1 million to rebuild a school once the fighting was over.
Great performances all around from Hanks, Julia Roberts and Amy Adams, but for me, Philip Seymour Hoffman completely steals the show in a role one can’t help but feel must have been written for him – he is dry, deadpan, sarcastic, sardonic and brilliantly witty. An absolutely top notch performance.
Overall, I think Charlie Wilson’s War earns itself a A-, making me laugh out loud more than any film I can recall seeing recently. However, the juxtaposition of dry Washington wit and Afghan children with their arms blown off can be a bit tough to reconcile at times.
Definitely worth the running time. A-.