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The true story of how playboy congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks), a renegade CIA agent, Gust Avrokotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and a beautiful, wealthy Houston socialite, Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts), joined forces to lead the largest and most successful covert operation in history. They wanted to provide essential weapons to help the Mujehideen in Afghanistan beat back the Societ Army. Their efforts contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, with consequences that reverberate throughout the world today.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Mike Nichols adds yet another splendid film to his already impressive career - from Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf to The Graduate, from Silkwood and Working Girl to Primary Colors. His intelligence and good taste shine through in all his films, as does his sophisticated sense of humour. The subject matter here is deeply serious, of course, but Nichols has a light touch even with political material, as he showed with Primary Colors. He also has a refined sense of casting; Philip Seymour Hoffman is the scene stealer, grabbing every second he's on screen as the gruff but clever secret agent who is not really appreciated at CIA HQ in Langley, but who turns out to be indispensable to the task.

Tom Hanks is cleverly light handed with his characterisation of Charlie Wilson (who has enthusiastically endorsed the film), a deceptively easy going, hard drinking and fun loving guy who is able to take things seriously without being a bore. Julia Roberts is both smart and sassy as Joanne, the wealthy beauty whose motivation is confused but whose determination is unstoppable. Notable, too, is Amy Adams as Charlie's can-do executive assistant, one of his squad of pretty 'Angels' who make his office hum to deadlines with hemlines.

But all the characters and supports are excellent, the humour kicks in nicely and the length and pace make it a tight affair, just over 90 minutes.

It's a really great story - and true! - effectively told, filled with layers of international politics, interpersonal relationships and the whole gamut of humanity. Irresistible.

DVD special features include two featurettes: The Making of Charlie Wilson's War and Who is Charlie Wilson?

Published June 12, 2008

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(US, 2007)

CAST: Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Rizwan Manji, Mary Page Keller, Brian Markinson, Om Puri, Spencer Garrett

PRODUCER: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks

DIRECTOR: Mike Nichols

SCRIPT: Aaron Sorkin (book by George Crile)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Stephen Goldblatt

EDITOR: John Bloom, Antonia Van Drimmelen

MUSIC: James Newton Howard


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 24, 2008


SPECIAL FEATURES: The making of Charlie Wilson's War[BREAK]• Who is Charlie Wilson?


DVD RELEASE: June 11, 2008

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