Charlie Wilson’s War

I must admit, Tom Hanks is among my favorite actors. Not because of any one brilliant role, although he was pretty great in Forrest Gump, and not because he can blend into the part and you can forget who’s playing it, because he’s always very recognizable as Tom Hanks. It’s not because of any great dramatic range, because he basically always plays a rather ordinary and likeable guy. It’s because of the sheer volume of films I like that he’s starred in. I can only recall one Tom Hanks film that I actively disliked, and that was Road to Perdition. Tom Hanks is just not convincing as a bad guy. He’s too nice.
So, I watched Charlie Wilson’s War on Netflix yesterday, and it did not disappoint. On the one hand, I did feel it was blatant propaganda for the American military, the CIA, Ronald Reagan, and the good intentions of eccentric millionaires. They threw in a couple of disclaimers at the end (the story of the Zen master, the quote on the screen at the very end) but, nonetheless, government secrecy and back door weapons deals were treated as things done by good people, with noble motives, and that part bothers me.
When he sees a refugee camp, with lots of amputees and people fighting over food and living desperately in the desert, he doesn’t think ‘Hey, we should send these people more food, maybe set up a field hospital or two, build some schools,’ he thinks, we need to give these people high-tech weapons so they can kill Russians.
It was an enjoyable film and you do wind up liking the main character. So, I’m recommending it. With reservations.

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