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Hanks, Hoffman and Roberts star in “Charlie Wilson’s War”

Chris McGrady | Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tom Hanks’ predictability is beginning to be almost laughable.

Before all you fans out there get angry, it does not mean that his roles are typecast, or that he is struggling. Rather it seems that these days, any movie starring Hanks is instantly good.

Such is the case in “Charlie Wilson’s War,” where Hanks once again turns in an impressive performance. He plays Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, and the story follows him as he tries to garner support to help Afghanistan rid itself of Soviet oppression. When Wilson visits Afghanistan and views the refugee camps left in the wake of Soviet bombing, he launches a campaign to garner American support to help Afghanistan liberate itself from Soviet control.

Hank’s whiskey-swilling, straight-talking character is likeable from the beginning. Opposite of Hanks is Julia Roberts, playing Texas aristocrat Joanne Herring. Roberts turns in a decent performance, but is probably the least-believable character in the film. Her Southern drawl sounds tepid and she is sometimes outshined by her co-actors. One remarkable thing about her performance is how good she looks in a bikini at age 40 and after three children. She plays the sixth-richest woman in Texas, and with her political influence, she helps Hanks raise awareness of the Soviet atrocities.

However, the real show-stealer of the film is Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is quickly solidifying himself as one of Hollywood’s best talents. Hoffman plays CIA agent Gust Avrakotos, a quick-tempered and sarcastic character who works with Hanks. Hoffman has already garnered a bid for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and more awards are sure to follow. Hoffman repeatedly steals the scene from the other actors, and his energy is palpable. The greatest thing about his performance is the realism of how he portrays his character. Hot-headed, quick-to-react, but obviously intelligent, Hoffman plays the role of Avrakotos perfectly. Without him, “Charlie Wilson’s War” would not be nearly as strong.

The film also stars Amy Adams as Wilson’s assistant Bonnie Bach. Adams’ portrayal is quite good, albeit forgettable. However, she does a great job with what she is given and turns in a strong performance.

“Charlie Wilson’s War” was nominated for five Golden Globes – Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Actor (Hanks), Best Supporting Actor (Hoffman), Best Supporting Actor (Roberts) and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).

The film is directed by Mike Nichols and is based off of the book (and true story) by George Crile. It was adapted for film by Sorkin, and the screenplay is full of sharp dialogue and brilliant language.

All in all, the film is a very strong screenplay supported by several stellar actors.