Biopics are a tough thing to make. How do you summarize one persons life in to just 2-3 hours? In that short amount of time you have to explain what makes a person tick so that the viewer can walk away with a better understanding of the individual that is the subject. Oliver Stone has had pretty decent success with doing this in his previous films, but the big difference now is that the person he is making a film about is still alive. Not only is he still alive but he is still a major part of our day to day lives. What makes biopics successful is the fact that you can research the individual and the events after they have occurred. Society and time has made its judgments about where they stand in the grand scheme of things, whether it’s positively or negatively. After watching this film I don’t think it was ready to be made.
I walked away from this film with nothing I didn’t already know or suspect. George Bush isn’t the smartest man alive and we all know this. His fellow power players are manipulative and somewhat ignorant and we know this. Bush comes from a family of wealth and has relied on this for years even when he was a trouble maker in his early years. WE ALL KNOW THIS. So why make this film?
I read somewhere that Oliver Stone said something to the effect of how he wanted people to see how George Bush is human just like the rest of us. That is a great reason to make a film. Unfortunately this film was marketed as one big joke. How can you make a film to show people that someone is just like us and makes mistakes just like we do and sell the movie with a trailer that brings out nothing but laughs? People went in to this movie expecting one big joke at the expense of Bush and I think that’s what people walked away with even though there were some interesting moments involving a fallible man trying to live up to a father and a name.
A big problem with the film is the story telling. I didn’t feel like there was any significant rise in action. The film maintained a pretty steady tone that didn’t excite any emotion except a giggle here and there at how ridiculous some of the people around Bush came off, whether through appearance or performance (Condoleezza Rice). It’s funny because I sat there and couldn’t put my finger on that being the issue exactly until the end came and the worst words you can put in a film showed up… THE END. If you have to tell your audience that it’s the end of the film then I don’t think you did a very good job of telling the story. A 2 hour film felt like 3 because of the lack of emotion in the film. It was very un-involving but overall an semi-interesting biopic that could’ve been great if it was done maybe 10 years from now.