As an actor, Tom Hanks possesses a rare gift that only a select few special actors have – the ability to make something hard look very easy. In his latest film, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” his performance is as refreshing as a cool drink in summer.
Based on a true story, the film tells the story of a low-key playboy congressman from Texas who discovers his conscience and life’s mission (helping to end the Cold War) – while entertaining some friends in a hotel hot tub. All of this seems out of place for “good time” Charlie who’s greatest ambition up to this point was simply being re-elected several times.
In no time, Congressman Wilson is back in his office with his “angels,” his all-female office staff, setting up meetings on how to appropriate money for the “war.” He finds a set of powerful allies in a well-connected Texas socialite, Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) and renegade CIA covert mission expert, Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman). With both pieces in place, Wilson is quickly able to navigate the dark waters of communism with quick effectiveness.
The script by Aaron Sorkin perfectly compliments Mike Nichols direction. It doesn’t hurt that he gets winning performances from Hanks, Roberts and Amy Adams. While the ensemble is solid and strong, Hoffman is brilliant as Avrakotos.
It’s no fair that he has all of the best lines in the films and he devours like a fat kid would cake. His character rough exterior perfectly compliments Wilson’s easy-going nature making them a potent combination. Coupled with his outstanding work in two other films, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead,” Hoffman is arguably the best character actor working in Hollywood. He is almost assured of receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this film and in my opinion, he is probably the front-runner.
With a run time of just barely over an hour and a half, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” could almost be classified as the “perfect holiday film.” Short and sweet as well as damn entertaining, war has never been as pleasurable.