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Page last updated at 08:51 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 09:51 UK
Does Bush film live up to hype?

By Kev Geoghegan
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Josh Brolin

A controversial new film about George W Bush has premiered in London.

W. tells the story of how he went from a borderline alcoholic family embarrassment to the leader of the free world.

It was directed by Oliver Stone and stars Josh Brolin in the central role.

By the time it's released in the UK on 7 November, the US elections will have passed and there will be a new commander-in-chief.

So is it still worth going to the cinema to see?

Brolin gives a strong performance in the central role of the man affectionately called Dubya by his friends.

His portrayal of Bush is a strange mix, part sympathetic as the man striving to live up to his father's expectations, part drunken clown as a young man.

Thandie Newton, Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks
Christian Bale was originally cast as George Bush but dropped out
To his dad, George Bush Snr - played by James Cromwell, he spends most of the film as a constant disappointment.

His father irritates and undermines him by calling him Junior in public.

Despite movie trailers which suggest this is a light piece of comedy-family drama, much of the film concentrates on the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the failed search for weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The cast do a good job with the material with Jeffery Wright fantastic as Colin Powell.

The film attempts to portray him as the voice of reason in Bush's administration.

Richard Dreyfuss is perfectly cast as Dick Cheney.

A scene where he tries to explain to Bush the importance of Iraq and Iran in terms of gaining access to the lion's share of the world's oil reserves is a little terrifying.

Elizabeth Banks, best known for appearing in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, brings a warmth to Laura Bush.

But Thandie Newton is utterly wasted as Condoleeza Rice.

Her job seems simply to wear false gnashers, look a lot like her and nod silently and sagely whenever anyone says anything.

And Ioan Gruffudd has about five lines of dialogue as Tony Blair so it isn't really fair to compare the job he does with Michael Sheen's Prime Minister in The Queen.

W. all but ignores many other aspects of Bush's time in office and 11 September is mentioned only in passing as a means to an end.

But, in all, it is a little confusing in what W. is actually trying to say.

As a portrait of Bush, we never get more than a slightly underwhelming "my dad never really loved me", father-son melodrama.

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