Atypical hero beats back commies

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Atypical hero beats back commies

Most people have their own ideal hero-type, and most are probably righteous and good-hearted.

Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, a playboy politician who enjoys hot tub parties with strippers and a line or two of cocaine, may not seem like a typical hero.

In the newly released DVD “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the congressman’s morality is questioned as he makes sure his secretaries have bra sizes bigger than a D cup, and gets involved with a clandestine CIA plot to fund Afghan resistance to Soviet military occupation in the 1980s.

Tom Hanks stars as the title character. At first, the Texan comes across as shallow, but the story reveals his maturity as he develops into a sincere Afghan supporter after rabid anti-Communist Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) sends him to an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan filled with wounded children.

After coming back from Afghanistan, Charlie teams up with former CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

The two persuade a congressional subcommittee to increase the CIA’s Afghanistan budget from $5 million $2 billion.

With the funds, the Afghans are encouraged to fight back against the Soviet occupation army, and news from Afghanistan becomes more important to Wilson than the upcoming elections.

The film ends soon after the Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan. Charlie receives the CIA’s highest civilian medal, and there is a touching speech praising him, “Charlie did it!”

Ironically, though, short scenes at the end depict how Charlie is unable to keep up the good work in Afghanistan.

What happens next is not dealt with in this film.

This is truly Charlie Wilson’s war as the whole story focuses only on the glory that Charlie brings to the screen, and briefly pops the cynical question about what a real hero should be.

Is it someone who helps end the war by handing the other side arms?

Or is it someone who would take care of the post-war peace in the country?

If anything, this film shows how a man formerly focused on living the high life can commit to a cause when that cause is worth fighting for.

Title Charlie Wilson’s War

Directed by Mike Nichols

Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Running Time:102 mins.

Subtitles: English

Genre: Drama

By Susan Yoon Contributing Writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]
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