Making a difference

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By Kirsten Laskey

An odd-ball team makes an enormous impact on the world in “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

The movie, which was based on a true story, depicts a foul-mouth CIA agent, a rich domineering socialite and a womanizing congressman successfully pulling off a covert operation, the affects of which are still being felt today.

In the early 1980s, the Cold War was in action and while Rep. Wilson glugged down scotch and skinny dipped in hot tubs, Russia was wrecking havoc on Afghanistan. Through a series of events, Wilson does something that is rather remarkable; he puts the cap back on the bottle and gets up out the tub to take action.

The story the movie presents is wonderful; an unlikely trio cleverly gets the Afghanis the necessary weapons to penetrate, explode and completely destroy Russia’s helicopters and run the Red Army right out of the country.

Their work helps end the Cold War, the good guys get their freedom, the bad guys are ruined and Charlie Wilson is honored as a hero.

The major criticism of the movie seems to be that it ends the story there. History, however, continues. Some of the people who were given the weapons are now known as Al Qaeda.

But what makes the movie so great is that it celebrates taking enormous risks to make a difference and hints, at the end of the movie, of the consequences of not completely following through on the work.

It also helps that there is a stellar cast. It’s fun to see Tom Hanks (Wilson) be a charming deviant and Julia Roberts (Joanne Herring) act as a radical socialite. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is excellent as the gruff CIA agent Gust Avrakotos.

The movie will screen at 6:30 p.m. at Mesa Public Library.

The movie is part of the library’s Free Film Series, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Library.