Oliver Stone, king of the conspiracy, is about to release a film about the Bush presidency. W, which doesn’t stand for winner, covers Bush’s life and is supposedly modeled on Stone’s well-regarded Nixon. The director wants it to be “a behind-the-scenes approach” to the President’s life, and denies wanting to make a polemic.
Whether the movie is any good, whether it moves votes for or against, there’s another question here:
How weird is it to see Josh Brolin playing the President?
Thing is, this is all still going on. The actors portraying the Iraq decisionmakers can’t hold a candle to the actual ones. No cinematic copy can match the “lowest point” of Colin Powell’s life. We’re still at war, no matter how Stone explains we got there, and the President’s total impotance in the recent financial crisis won’t even find space in the film.
My skepticism isn’t about the content of the movie itself; it’s about making a biopic about a sitting President while all the events are still occuring. Of course there’s an entire literary industry built on this, much of which doesn’t age so well. But somehow it seems different on film, with close-to-real-looking actors delivering close-to-real-sounding dialogue. Somehow it seems weird to look at fake-W and fake-Cheney planning to fake-invade Iraq.
Something in my gut finds it insulting to treat the foreign and domestic disaster of the last eight years in film so soon. As though it takes the seriousness out of it. Why pay $8 at the theatre for an approximation of the evening news?
If anyone can think of any major political films made concurrently with the events they portrayed, I’d be curious to compare. I don’t even mean movies about politics set in current times; I mean examples where the actors portray the actual prominant politicians still in office. For the life of me I can’t think of anything comparable.