Oliver Stone's seemingly endless waste of time focuses in on a grim and still-present period—one that has seen a disastrous seizure of government, and a systematic destruction of civil liberties—and transforms it into an aimless and tedious melodrama. From beginning to end, it runs on empty.
There are no ordinary people here. Not even "Joe the Plumber," who might have made a telling cameo appearance as the stereotypical stooge who confuses his own self-interest with the interests of a power elite that could care less about him.
There are no sentient victims, only mutilated props.
There is no recognition of the growing legion of human casualties, at home and abroad, that has piled up in the wake of 9/11, at least "9/11" as packaged and promoted for public consumption.
The primary "collateral damage" in this movie takes place in the theater, among members of an audience being battered into a state historical amnesia about the moment they are living through. From a director who has made heightened public awareness his purported stock-in-trade, this is unacceptable.
Most people who have remained conscious over the past eight years, who have followed the wholesale disfigurement of a nation—its people, its economy, its global reputation, and its murderous foreign policy—by a cabal of anti-democratic thugs, know far more about Bush and his presidency than this insipid psychodrama comes even close to offering. There are no instructive insights here. Nada!
"W" doesn't deserve too many words, so I won't mince them. It is a near-total trivialization of stuff that is too important, too dangerous, to reduce to a personalistic Oedipal drama which falls flat from beginning to end. Given the ruinous scale of things wrought on his watch, who cares if W has a "dad" problem. Many sons (and daughters) do, and suffer, with a far less calamitous effect.
The United States, and a world that has suffered dearly under the Bush regime, is invisible in "W." The people and corporations that, behind-the-scenes, have profited from Bushism (and Reaganism, first Bushism and Clintonism for that matter), are nowhere to be seen. In this flick, the unseen engineers, the corporate interests and ideologues who engineered the takeover—beginning with the "Reagan Revolution"—are out of the picture. This is a clock without a mechanism: a sequence of scenes lined up, signifying nothing.
The stakes are too high, and Oliver Stone has done nothing to contribute to an informed political dialog that is so essential at our pressing historical moment.
It's not pro-Bush. But in its shortfall of substance, it's vapid cluelessness about the world at large, it participates in a creepiness that has overtaken the mental environment.
Don't bother. You must have something better to do with your time. I did. I missed the third game of the series.