Charlie Wilson’s War

Rated 3.0

Nowhere in recent American history did good intentions yield such a disastrous return than with the Cold War shenanigans of Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson. Based on the nonfiction account by George Crile and adapted by The West Wing’s wunderkind Aaron Sorkin, here the account is given the Cliff’s Notes approach by director Mike Nichol. Prodded by a wealthy socialite (Julia Roberts) and erstwhile lover, the hard-partying Wilson (Tom Hanks) hooks up with a loose cannon CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to take the matters that didn’t seem to matter into their own hands. In the ’80s the U.S. was taking a “wait ’n’ see” approach to the Soviet invasion of the then near-anonymous Afghanistan. Circumventing established doctrine, Wilson helps lead the effort to provide U.S. aid to the Mujahideen in their shared goal to repel the Commie threat, funneling billions of laundered taxpayer dollars into the effort … which ultimately returned way more than anyone would have expected. If approached as an opportunity to watch a couple of actors take on some exceptional dialogue (for a change) and cut loose with the material, one could do worse.