Wednesday, November 5, 2014

man of many character flaws

Congressman Charlie Wilson:

"You know you've pretty much hit rock bottom

when you've been told you have character flaws

by a man who hanged

his predecessor

in a military coup."


Brilliant dialogue, in this film.
Written by Aaron Sorkin.


"I learned about you before you came here.
I learned that you are a man of many character flaws."


"Well I don't want to

use up

any more of your



"We have experience with warfare of this kind."


"The arms and funding should flow through us."


"You sell the Israelis the radar.  So that's why he says, 'to hell with it.'"


"No, you are not "eager" to assist us.
I went to Oxford and I know what that word means!"


"Congressman, what they are saying is, ten million dollars from the U.S., to fight the Russian Army, is such a low figure that it can be mistaken for a joke...!"


"Well there were three of them.  It was like gettin' slapped around by a Pakistani vaudeville team"...


~~~~~~~~~~ When he tells Bonnie they have to make one more stop, they get in a helicopter and the pilot takes them to the North-West Frontier Province where the refugees are staying.

Music backs the scene, and the whappa-whappa of the helicopter blades competes with the thoppa-thoppa of the music's percussion.  I don't know if a Middle Eastern person would think this sounds like Middle Eastern music, but to the western ear it makes you think of the Middle East -- that unsteady, anxiety-riddled, keening type of melody -- sighing on the soundtrack as the 'copter flies like a big insect, over hills and mountains that are sort of yellow-beige -- is it sand?  You don't see any cities -- is it deserted?  It seems like a mysterious place....

They visit the refugee camp.
Vehicles arrive with food; people compete and battle for bags of something (rice? grains?) and in the pushing and shoving and skirmishing, bags get dropped and broken-open, and some of the scarce, precious food scatters on the dusty ground.  People are desperate.

A woman tells Congressman Wilson,
"It takes more work to take care of a wounded child than a dead one.  So when the Russians cover fields with toy mines, adults who might help with the war effort have to take care of the children. ...


Wilson and his aide Bonnie Bach go back to the capital and we see them marching wearily yet purposefully into the American embassy.  Wilson has removed his tie.  (You think it must be hot.)

He goes to see the station chief and inquires about the military situation in Afghanistan and how the U.S. can help.  The station chief demures, saying, "a sudden influx of money and new weaponry could draw attention" and Wilson, fueled by empathy, horror, and awe, explodes in frustration, saying the line which first drew me totally into this movie:  "This is the Cold War!  Everybody knows about it!!"


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