Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 12:40 UK

Bush movie receives mixed reviews

Josh Brolin as President Bush in W
W will play at the London Film Festival on 23 and 24 October

Oliver Stone's biopic of President Bush has left some reviewers unimpressed after its first screening in the US.

Named W after the US leader's middle initial, the film shows George Bush's ascent from his early days at Yale to the highest office in the land.

According to The Times, "the task of shoehorning all of this into a couple of hours gets the better of Stone".

Josh Brolin, however, received praise from trade newspaper Variety for his "arresting" work in the title role.

"The actor offers a more than reasonable physical approximation and an interpretation that's convincingly boisterous and determined," wrote Todd McCarthy.

Screen International's Mike Goodridge echoed those sentiments, tipping Brolin to be in contention for a number of best actor prizes.

"Wholly immersing himself in the part, he doesn't imitate the president so much as breathe human complexity into him."


According to the Guardian newspaper's Los Angeles correspondent Dan Glaister, W "plays like a TV movie rather than a cinematic epic".

The writer goes on to call it a more "conventional" work than JFK and Nixon, the director's previous films involving the US presidency.

Variety, however, calls the film an "unusual and inescapably interesting" work that offers "a clear and plausible take on the current chief executive's psychological make-up".

Oliver Stone
Stone's other films include JFK, Platoon and Natural Born Killers
Bush himself is portrayed with equanimity, according to Goodridge - "as charismatic as he is stupid, as idealistic as he is dangerously naive".

"As a young man, Brolin plays him as a likeable enough fellow," he writes. "As a president, he plays him as a man of some intelligence."

Stone began shooting W in May with the intention of rush-releasing it ahead of America's November elections.

In addition to Brolin the cast includes Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, Ioan Gruffudd as Tony Blair, Thandie Newton as Condoleeza Rice and Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell.

W opens in the US on 17 October and will be released in the UK on 7 November.

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