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297 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Whether you love him or hate him, there is no question that George W. Bush is one of the most controversial public figures in recent memory. In an unprecedented undertaking, acclaimed director Oliver Stone brings the life of our 43rd President to the big screen as only he can. W takes viewers through Bush's eventful life -- his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush's decision to invade Iraq.

Oliver Stone’s W. is similar to his other movies about American presidents (JFK, Nixon), which is to say these films are much more about Stone’s imagined versions of reported events than they are alleged reenactments. As such, W. is Stone’s case for what he sees as the absurdity of George W. Bush’s ascendance to the White House and especially the arrogant blunder of the Iraq War. Josh Brolin is very good as the miscreant son of George H. W. Bush (James Cromwell), Vice President to Ronald Reagan and 41st president of the United States. Adrift in a sea of booze and squandered opportunities, the younger Bush is largely driven by a need for his disapproving father’s love and respect, which never truly arrives. Becoming a hatchet man for Bush Sr.’s administration, “W” (as his wife, Laura--played by Elizabeth Banks--call him) meets Karl Rove (Toby Jones) and heads toward the Texas governorship, despite his father’s preference that the more golden son, Jeb, get all the family’s support in his Florida gubernatorial bid.

Told in broken chronology, W. focuses on Bush’s post-9/11 path to waging a “preventive war” in Iraq despite no hard evidence of weapons of mass destruction to justify it. The major players in W’s administration--Rove, Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), and especially Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss)--all participate in closed meetings that look and sound like every investigative account by the New York Times or Bob Woodward about the administration’s inner workings leading up to the war. Much of this is quite fascinating if a little weird (Newton’s performance is indeed strange), but the drama is often powerful, particularly around Powell’s resistance to the rising tide for a supposedly slam-dunk war. A number of the film’s key performances, besides Brolin’s, are very strong, especially Cromwell, Jones, Wright, Dreyfuss and Bruce McGill as George Tenet. --Tom Keogh

Beyond W. on DVD

Family of Secrets the book

W. the Soundtrack

W. the Original Motion Picture Score

Stills from W. (click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Hanks, Toby Jones
  • Directors: Oliver Stone
  • Writers: Stanley Weiser
  • Producers: Albert Yeung, Bill Block, Christopher Mapp, David Whealy, Elliot Ferwerda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,515 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "W." on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
To be honest, I am a liberal who went to this movie expecting to see a funny parody of George W. Bush along the lines of a Michael Moore film. While I did laugh at times during the film, I left the movie feeling strangely sympathetic towards poor W. Stone plays it surprisingly straight, presenting Bush as the kid who had trouble finding his way as a grown-up. The main focus here is on Bush's relationship with his father, particularly his efforts to constantly try to please George the elder and falling short, especially when compared with his brother Jeb. Stone effectively weaves in flashblacks from Bush's college and early adult years with his first term as President. Some major events, including the 2000 election and September 11th, are given almost no attention, but again, that's not the main focus of the film.

The movie is superbly cast. Josh Brolin does an amazing job as W.; he manages to capture Bush's mannerisms in a portrayal that is uncannily accurate without becoming a caricature. Then there's James Cromwell, who looks and sounds nothing like George Bush senior but somehow manages to depict the former President perfectly just the same. Most of the other supporting roles are excellent as well, from Richard Dreyfuss as Cheney to Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell; the one exception was Thandie Newton's Condoleezza Rice, who DID feel more like a caricature.

No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, this is an engrossing movie with the potential to appeal to many different types of people, and I definitely recommend it.
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107 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Chris Pandolfi on October 17, 2008
Format: DVD
Oliver Stone's "W." is one of the year's most absorbing films, and that's because, as the tagline suggests, it reveals that George W. Bush has been greatly misunderestimated. Watching this film, we see not the forty-third President of the United States, the former Governor of Texas, or even a politician in general. From my perspective, we're being told about an insecure man who reaches too far in an attempt to earn his father's approval. This movie is not a political commentary--it's a character study. Better still, it's a character study that's more or less historically accurate, with Stone and writer Stanley Weisner relying on published works and in-depth reports for the screenplay. Liberties were obviously taken; after all, there's no way anyone could know exactly what was said behind closed doors. But all the basic scenarios are well documented, which is to say that the film never once felt contrived. The end result is a compelling, complex, and occasionally funny examination of a person who always has something to prove.

Josh Brolin is perfectly cast as the title character, flawlessly capturing the mannerisms and diction we've become so familiar with over the last eight years. We see him as a determined but incompetent man who claws his way up to the presidency without the necessary skills. Pay close attention to scenes featuring W. in staff meetings; it quickly becomes clear that political heavyweights like Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss), Karl Rove (Toby Jones), Condoleeza Rice (Thandie Newton), Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright), and even the infuriated Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) are making all the important decisions. As for W., well, let us not forget that the real President Bush publicly declared that his faith in God influenced his foreign policy decisions.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Faulk on February 18, 2009
Format: DVD
Four stars because all the demands of this difficult project were met by researchers, writers, lawyers, set creators, casting, wardrobe and makeup, cameramen, director, editors, etc. Oliver Stone could bring it through. Unlike the man the picture is about, who could not.

In making this film, Stone knew he would have to travel a straight and narrow path, lawyers to the left of him, lawyers to the right. All the characters in the film are drawn from still living persons, any one of whom if "maligned" could wield the injunction club and force reshoots or reedits or entomb the master print for a quarter century. Stone and his financiers would be left reeling. Thus we find ourselves at an anticipated Golden Gloves competition, No Punching Profanity Shouting or Spitting Allowed.

In the first portion of this film, I felt like I was caught up in a flash flood. Finally the appearance of Laura calmed me down, here instantaneously was a warm human being. The restaging of the catastrophic White House doings gave me a You Are There simplified refocus on the existent megaton journalistic trove on the same subjects. The physically towering Father Bush was an indulgent exaggeration to make a point. The film evoked no emotion or insight.

You've heard of the Peter Pan syndrome, but maybe not of Kidult or Puer aeternas. These terms, loosely applied, come to me as I see "George W. Bush" in the film. As he envisions himself as the Sports Hero as thousands cheer, as he cockcrows at the frat house, as he saucy flirts with Laura girl, as he stuffs sandwiches into his face, as he bullies, as he makes big hard decisions without a second thought, as he relishes landing on the carrier in a pilot costume, as he finally muddles down tongue-tied at the press conference.
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