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Heroes of the Zeroes: W.

by on November 20, 2010
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Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.

“W.”
Rated PG-13
2008

Rich or poor, everyone inexorably suffers from imposed parental expectations and expected fulfillment of destiny.

One roll of the dice so happened to put in presidential office a man who used it as a behavioral science lab in which to work out his trauma.

Such was the position of Oliver Stone’s “W.,” told as a quasi-Shakespearean father-son generational clash crossed with Texan tenacity. Think “Hud” in modern-day politics instead of now-dated agriculture.

Shot on the quick, “W.” still sparkles with innovative visuals — such as the way sunlight sparkles as strongly through a bottle of Jack as it does through a holier spirit. (Needless to say, George W. Bush gets high on the impurities of both.)

Also, Stone always has been one to cast with an eye for mannerisms and interpretation rather than mimicry, and, as the POTUS, Josh Brolin finds tantalizing bits of personality-driven physical comedy.

Look at the defensive curling of his upper lip, a square-set face flinching ever so slightly in the cheeks, the patronizing gesture of hands to prove a point. Eventually, we see W. using traits as tactics, like every other politician.

Seemingly right in Stone’s wheelhouse of wicked satire, 2008’s “W.’s” invective was instead subtle — insightful and indicting of a country’s complicity up to a point.

Aided by Brolin’s Oscar-worthy turn, “W.” attempted something far bolder than badgering. It wonders what it must’ve been like for Bush to wake up every day expecting to cleanly field Texas leaguers, but losing them in the lights.

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