W. is the third film that director Oliver Stone has based around the USA presidency (JFK and Nixon are his previous efforts). It is also a curiously restrained film considering Stone’s past tendency to make controversial films containing an excessive use of film style, Natural Born Killers and Platoon being two notable examples. Despite the occasional use of heavily ironic music, W. is not the all out ridiculing attack on Bush that many people may assume it to be. Looking at the range and depth of source material that the film was based upon, it appears to be an incredibly well researched film. It examines Bush as a rebellious young man who despite his highly privileged background couldn’t hold down a job until the age of 40 when he turned his life around to eventually become the president of the free world. While W. does heavily focus on the era between October 2001 and March 2003 when America went to war with Iraq, Stone’s primary interest lies in the complex relationship that Bush had with his father.
Audiences rarely see American films about the German perspective of World War II and Nazism. There is Lewis Milestone’s 1930 antiwar classic All Quiet on the Western Front but it is set during World War I. Sam Peckinpah’s brutal Cross of Iron (1977) shovels scorn upon the treatment of German soldiers by their careerist seniors and psychotic Nazi commanders, but it is a criminally underappreciated film that few people have seen. Valkyrie is hence an intriguing film for Hollywood to make because it is told from a German perspective and, like Cross of Iron, it sharply distinguishes the differences between members of the Nazi regime and the regular German army.