On Saturday, my muse and I saw two movies -- "W" and "Quantum of Solace" -- at the Somerville Theater. While only one was a portrayal of Bush, and while only one was truly fictional, both contained lessons in how we see the Bush Administration.
First, the protagonist of each film wants revenge. Josh Brolin's Bush seeks revenge on Saddam Hussein after the Iraqi leader's alleged involvement in an assassination plot against Dubya's dad, ex-president George H.W. Bush. (The Huffington Post disputes whether such a plot existed.) Daniel Craig's 007, meanwhile, pursues revenge for the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd.
Just as common as the revenge element are conspiracy theories. Which is more believable -- Richard Dreyfuss' Dick Cheney arguing that an occupation of Iraq would help the US rule the oil market and preserve American global hegemony? (Um, no comment.) Or Bond villain Dominic Greene sparking distrust of environmental groups through his portrayal of an eco-do-gooder with bad motives? (He wants to manipulate the Bolivian water supply.)
Revenge and conspiracies abound in both films, and maybe it's no mistake that they each contain characters who go by one initial -- Judi Dench's M and, of course, the president. What this also reveals, though, is how disturbing the presidency has become when the cartoonish elements of a cloack-and-dagger flick permeate it.