One of the cool things about being the film critic for the Daily News is that I sometimes get a chance to venture out for late night screenings of films that are about to open in Bowling Green. Late Thursday night, I did just that when I attended the screening of the new Tom Hanks film “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Even though I sit at my desk a little weary-eyed this morning, I have to say it was worth it.
“War” may not be the year-end award winner it aspires to be, but it is still an entertaining political comedy that is worth your time.”War” is based on the true story of Charlie Wilson (Hanks), a Texas congressman who was responsible for the covert assistance of Afghanistan during its fight against the Soviet Union in the 1980’s. Wilson manages to bring together some unlikely allies – a Texas socialite (Julia Roberts), a renegade CIA agent (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and the President of Pakistan (Om Puri) – to help assist in a war that eventually signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
This is a film that truly understands the back-room underbelly of Washington politics and “Charlie Wilson” is at its best when the congressman is trying to get the funds needed to aid in the Afghan cause. Hanks has a lot of fun as the womanizing Wilson, while Hoffman continues to build on a great year with a performance that is delightfully off-center. Roberts doesn’t really bring much to the film outside of an ‘A’ list star and I really wish director Mike Nichols wouldn’t have felt like he had to rush through the final act to get to the payoff. Still, this is a film that is entertaining and enlightening. I’d give “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which opened Friday at the Great Escape 12 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow a solid B.