- 2 hr 9 min
Oliver Stone is no stranger to bringing the recent past to life, and with 2008's "W." the venerable director takes on one of the most controversial presidencies and some of the most turbulent years in recent American history. Ostensibly a biopic, Oliver's examination of the 43rd president tells the story of Bush's political career, from its very beginnings at Yale University in the 1960s. The narrative does incorporate some personal elements, including Bush's courtship of future First Lady Laura--played here by Elizabeth Banks--as well as his pre-presidential struggles with alcoholism and eventual embrace of Christianity. However, Stone focuses mainly on the first term of the Bush presidency and the biographical elements that came into play during that contentious time, with a special emphasis on the defining event of Bush's presidential career: the Iraq War. All of the expected players are represented, including Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. Dick Cheney, played by Richard Dreyfuss, looms in the background as a strong influence on Bush's policies. "W." is an iconic director's examination of a phase of history that is still very much unfolding.