Perspective, that’s what Charlie Wilson’s War keeps in mind. While other political war movies this season are caught in the quagmire of the news of our current world wide screw ups, Charlie goes back to one that could have started or (at least worsened) many of our current problems. At the very least it takes apart the thought processes of our political system. It does so by telling the story of Charlie Wilson and how he waged a covert war that helped end the Cold War. In short, by supplying Afghanistan with billions of dollars worth of military equipment they were able to stick it to the Soviets. It’s funny to think of a time in which we were helping Afghanistan and not tearing it apart.
There’s no grandstanding here. There’s never a “we’re better than they are” mentality. Writer Aaron Sorkin knows we all have a little dirt on our hands and he points it out. Sure we’re helping murderers and backstabbers, but we’re not so righteous ourselves. Charlie Wilson, a military advisor is, in fact, the least righteous person for the job. Tom Hanks has always had a hard time really digging into the darker sides of his characters, but here he takes full strides as an actor bringing to life this sordid, womanizing personality. He’s not stupid, just brazen, which is probably why he got along so well with Gust Avrakotos, the CIA operative that Philip Seymour Hoffman throws himself into.