The plot of the film concerns the life of George W Bush, from his college years up until the Iraq War, with the central focus being on the relationship between W Bush and George HW Bush and herein lies the problem. Simply put, the film was made way too early and as such, the long term ramifications of Bush's presidency were unable to be talked about, especially true considering that the film ends in 2004 meaning that we don't see his second term in office. This sense of wasted opportunity also comes through in regards to the build up to the Iraq War as a lot of the details are still unknown, and probably won't fully be known until after all those involved have died, with the only really interesting point the film brings up being the belief that the war in Iraq was to gain greater access to the Middle East oil supply. This is also true of the relationship between Bush and Tony Blair as they had a well documented friendly relationship but there is only one scene with the two of them on-screen in the film. Plus, the film doesn't delve into the domestic policies of Bush which could have made an entire film by themselves. It just feels like a massive wasted opportunity to deliver real insight into the Bush Administration due to it being made too early. I feel that a much better film can be made about Bush in about 10 years (with my preferred casting for Bush being Matthew McConaughey). There are some parts of the film that work though, mainly the scenes between the two Bush's. These scenes are really well written and directed and provide a great look into the psyche of Bush and why he made the decisions he did.
However, the good scenes in the film are let down by one very important issue, Josh Brolin is miscast as Bush. He doesn't look like Bush, he doesn't have any of the mannerisms down, hell he can't even do the accent. He tries his best to bring across the personal issues in Bush and the anger he has towards his Dad but it just doesn't work because I never felt like he was playing George W Bush, hell (and I really don't want to say this) Dana Carvey in The Master of Disguise gives a better performance as George W Bush that Josh Brolin because he is able to nail down the accent and mannerisms (and that is the only time I will say something positive about The Master of Disguise). There is also the problem that, when lined up to the rest of the cast, Brolin sticks out like a sore thumb. Everyone else from James Cromwell as George HW Bush to Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell to Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice to Toby Jones as Karl Rove to Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney are excellent and I felt like I was seeing the actual people in the scenes with all of them together, with Cromwell, Dreyfuss and Newton being particular standouts.
Overall, W is a mess of a film. A brilliant supporting cast and a few decent scenes don't make up for the fact that the film was clearly made too early meaning that they were unable to fully delve into Bush's presidency and this, along with a severely miscast Josh Brolin, tank the film.
My Rating: 2/5