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Oliver Stone

Savages – Oliver Stone (2012)

Ben and Chon are high school buddies. They start to grow weed and after a tour in Afghanistan Chon returns with the best seeds. After some experimentation Ben and Chon created the best weed in the world. Their fame and finances grow rapidly and the two buy a big house at the beach where they live together with their shared girlfriend O.

A Mexican cartel decides to take over their business by force and the paradisal life of Ben, Chon and O rapidly changes into a nightmare. They try to think of way to get out of the situation, but the Mexicans do not take ‘no’ for an answer.

Stone made a decent thriller about a drug that is (ironically) legal nowadays in several countries and states. The underlying message is clear though: since there is a lot of money to be made in drug traficking, the most brutal of organisations try to use the trade to get rich.

Snowden * Oliver Stone (2016)

Is it not a bit early to already make a film about Edward Snowden? Did Stone want to make sure he would be the first or is the film meant to financially support Snowden? On the other hand, maybe the film already comes too late.

The film tells a story we all heard about. Edward Snowden is the most famous person to leak classified information. He rose in governmental security agencies and then gets second thoughts on the enormous scale of information that these agencies gather of the general public and how easy it is to stick ones nose in the most intimate details of a persons life. Snowden decides to gather information to back up his story and blow the whistle hard.

The film is set around the meetings with journalists that Snowden set up in a hotel in Hong Kong in 2013 and the rest of the story is told in flash-back. This story is well-known and I must say that I expected a bit more ‘level’ of Oliver Stone. The film does not really manage to set the atmosphere of suppression and paranoia that the story needs and Snowdens appointments do not really raise ‘WTF reactions’, which should make ‘the general public’ raise against the governments that do that to us. The film is actually just a mediocre thriller around a story that we already knew. Perhaps the dismay that Snowdens revealings originally gave already ebbed away and the film does not manage to bring it back.

Maybe the film does not come too early (Snowden still lives in Moskou and never came to answer for himself, so the end is untold), but too late (little probably changed, but who really cares?).

The Doors * Oliver Stone (1991)

This film is so old that I do not even remember if I ever saw it before, but I guess I did not. I wanted to see it (again) to compare it to that recent film about The Doors. In some ways these two films are diametrically opposital. Stone chose to have actors replay all scenes, whereas DeCillo used only original footage. I am sure Stone did not know about all material, but the clearest example is the scene on an airport where each bandmember is asked for his name and occupation, that Stone had his actors play exactly as the original film that DiCillo used. I am sure you have all seen this film decades ago. Val Kilmer plays Jim Morrison, but quite surprisingly, Kyle MacLachlan plays Ray Manzarek. There are some more big names present. Stone managed to make a great film with a lot of music, also lesser known songs, quite some focus on Morrison’s other efforts (film and poetry) and some more personal things of the band and its members. Both films have a perfect balance between film and music and it is impossible to say if one is better as the other. I suppose they should just be sold together in a boxset.

Natural Born Killers * Oliver Stone (1994)

For a few euros I bought the “director’s cut” DVD with “over an hour of extra footage” and I know what extras. It must have been a long time since I saw this film. I really wonder why it became so popular. It is extremely strange and most of all, extremely violent. Strange in the sense of comics mixed in the film, strange images on the background, unusual colours, rediculous scenes and a vague sense of humour.

As you will know “Natural Born Killers” tells the story of the two lovers Micky (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis) who drive across the USA killing people and making love. Heavily drug-influenced and completely insane. The media turns them into heroes and there is major interest in the trial and interviews. In the end of the film the two escape.

Anyway, a great film and if you see the cheap DVD somewhere, don’t hesitate!