Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2009
©2008 Prescott Productions, LLC All Rights ReservedIt’s refreshing to see Oliver Stone, who’s infamous for cramming his revisionist views of history down our throats (JFK, Nixon), come up with this tragicomic analysis of the title initial, more familiarly known as the Worst. President. Ever. The film illustrates the dangers of putting a malleable frat boy screw-up who was drunk until he was Born Again at age 40 into the White House and at the mercy of morally certain Machiavellians like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Stone offers no new revelations about the finally ex-president. His sources are books by former aides and the public record. He’s just put it all together and dramatized it. Hats off to Josh Brolin in the title role, who rises above mimicry and just nails it, capturing the cluelessness and egoism as well as the defensiveness. And Richard Dreyfuss makes Cheney every bit as frightening as, well, he is. But the film passes up tempting subplots that would make better movies, its non-linear structure is confusing and unnecessary, and it sometimes resembles a failed Saturday Night Live sketch.