DRAMA; 2hr 9min

STARRING: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell

Hey dude: from left, Brolin and Noah Wyle

As a film-maker, Oliver Stone takes nothing lightly. In attempting to even-handedly illuminate the divisive 43rd US President, George W. Bush (Brolin, uncannily on target), Stone and screenwriter Stanley Weiser put on a bombastic show whose commonplace observations dang well underwhelm.


In the 1960s and ’70s, their young George is a boozy loser, drifting post-Yale through dissatisfying jobs, a disappointment to his strait-laced Congressman father (Cromwell), who doesn’t scruple to say so, and the least likely contender to lead anything. Brolin blazes through these scenes, downing liquor and cutting loose with greedy zeal. As the contemporary President, married to supportive Laura (Banks), born again to religious sobriety at age 40 and orchestrating the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, his son’s burden of proof to George the elder is no less exacting.


To labour (and labour) this genealogical point, Weiser and Stone juxtapose past and current developments in a clumsy mélange that only succeeds in stating the bleeding obvious: whatever the reasons for his rationale, George W.’s righteous intent was an unstoppable and incorrigible force.