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Year: 2008
Production Co: Ixtlan Corporation
Director: Oliver Stone
Writer: Stanley Weiser
Cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Toby Jones, Thandie Newton, Scott Glenn, Jeffrey Wright, Rob Corddry, Ioan Gruffud, Colin Hanks, Stacy Keach, Bruce McGill, Marley Shelton
Evidently a lot of critics (and apparently audiences, based on the box office) thought this movie was a lot like the Iraq war - stuff they didn't want to be reminded of so soon. General consensus was that in another ten years it would have been a great movie.

Maybe that's an American sentiment. I thought it was a thrilling return to form for one of the next filmmakers America has after the slightly Disney version of September 11 he bought us in World Trade Center.

This is Stone doing what he does best - deconstructing a mythology, whether it's the Kennedy assassination or the media's fascination with murders in Natural Born Killers. He makes a few imaginative leaps based on the historical and testimonial record, but what I found just as exciting was seeing if the stars in the cast lived up to the real life personalities involved. The best scenes were those in the 2000's with Bush and his senior officials planning and dealing with the Iraq War.

Obviously Scott Glenn doesn't look just like Donald Rumsfeld and Toby Jones doesn't look just like Karl Rove, but that's not the point. These actors took cues from real life and created characters, and whether the characterisations and relationships between them (in particular the hatred between Dick Cheney and Colin Powell depicted here) was true doesn't matter either - it makes great drama.

It might not be the historical document some wanted, but anyone with a passing knowledge of US foreign policy over the last ten years will see all the hallmarks and historical backdrop that made Bush's term such a diplomatic disaster - from Rumsfeld's dismissal of France and Germany as 'old Europe' to the speechwriters settling on the Axis of Evil text.

Too early? I'd say ten years too late, and Stone isn't the only one who deserves recognition - Brolin leads a cast that does a monumental job with the roles they're given, with Newton as Condoleeza Rice (particularly later on) and Dreyfuss as the more than slightly evil Cheney just two stand-outs.

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