What Went Wrong With… Oliver Stone?

Caricature of Oliver Stone in front of a peace sign and a camouflaged American Flag by

Oliver Stone is the type of filmmaker that if you ignore the majority of his work and focus on a handful of his films, you’d swear he was a movie-making maestro. Don’t get me wrong, Stone whether writing or directing has been responsible for some amazing movies, but if you take a step back and look at his entire filmography, it’s quite clear that his early greatness is now overshadowed by his lacklustre later work. He may have made some fantastic films in the early-to-mid nineties, but after 1999 he’s made nothing but back-to-back blandness, but aside from his waning artistic ability, it’s his annoying public persona that I take issue with. Stone is routinely promoted by the mainstream media as some kind of god-like liberal superhero, an anti-war, anti-establishment genius not to be questioned. To the right he’s a Vietnam Veteran, to the left he’s a campaigner and activist, and to movie fans from both sides he’s someone who makes politically-charged films that weirdly seem to satisfy everybody’s political predilections. But if you take a closer look at his work, you’ll realise Oliver Stone is a co-conspirator with the powers that be; he makes films which on the surface look like they’re “dangerous” or saying something “controversial” but upon closer inspection they’re quite cleverly conventional. Like the majority of left-wing celebrities, Stone seems more of a covert liberal opinion cajoler than a genuine left-field thinker.

My favourite Oliver Stone film is “JFK”, and back when it was released it had a tone which felt risky and anarchic. It was a thrilling and exciting movie which supported free-thinking and conspiracy theory. With an opening quote from Ella Wheeler Wilcox which read “To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men”, the entire film was soaked in defiance and dissension. “JFK” was close to being a perfect movie-going experience and it included many great lines. Jim Garrison said in the film “War is the biggest business in America” and also “Hitler always said ‘The bigger the lie, the more people believe it’”, to me these lines were and still are relevant in our contemporary society. But who’d have thought that a mere fifteen years after the end quote shone on our screen like a beacon for hope and change, Stone would make “World Trade Center” a film so devoid of life and spirit that it may as well have been made by Rudy Giuliani. A decade and a half after reading the quote “Dedicated to the young in whose spirit the search for truth marches on”, I was quite surprised by the contrasting tone of “World Trade Center”, this movie was in no way tense, exciting, it had no atmosphere, it was stark, but most of all it was depressingly mainstream, it didn’t “search for truth” in any way. Was this the same man who brought us “JFK”?

In “World Trade Center” there wasn’t a single question asked about the official narrative, it resembled some kind of Hallmark production which shied away from anything controversial. After the conspiracy-filled “JFK” this was a sad sight indeed. In one scene a news broadcast plays in the background and you can hear the reporter saying “[the building] looked like it was imploding” but not a single character in the film says anything contrary to the official story. I mean c’mon, the Magic Bullet Theory was mocked in “JFK” but the physics contained within the official narrative of 9/11 is stuck to like glue in this crappy flick. There was also an aircraft wheel on the ground as Nicolas Cage‘s character runs toward Building 5, very reminiscent of the terrorist’s passport miraculously surviving the explosion, and yet every photo I’ve seen of the day I can’t see any piece of wreckage on the street. I also recall witnesses on the news that day saying they heard “bombs in the basement” or that “there weren’t any planes”, but nobody in the movie reports anything of that nature, God forbid Oliver Stone stirs up some actual controversy while the wounds are still fresh. It seems that he’s only a conspiracy theorist decades after the fact, when being so will have no affect to his career, how very convenient.

A real conspiracy theorist would say that the effects team working on “World Trade Center” couldn’t render the Twin Towers as successfully as the actual fake footage of the day. Blurred edges, fake-looking smoke, even for 2006 the CGI looked shockingly amateur. There was also the fact that the film couldn’t achieve the real atmosphere of that day. Whereas “JFK” was extremely tense and gripping, “World Trade Center” was quite obviously 2006 rather than 2001, it was quite noticeably a post-9/11 New York. In reality it was a sunny day yet it felt strangely brooding, being anywhere in the East Coast of America that day was pretty intimidating, exciting, and thrilling in equal measures. Only the most talented Director could have accurately translated that day to celluloid and I guess Oliver Stone isn’t that guy after all.

“World Trade Center” at one point cuts to Sheboygan and a Policeman shouts “bastards!”, and despite this being similar to a newspaper headline the following day, weirdly there aren’t any other portrayals of anger. The amount of reactionary and retrogressive opinions that day were rife, but in his filmic depiction Stone only shows us the contrived, buddy-buddy, band of brothers bullshit. When Jon Bernthal’s character says “did you hear about the Pentagon? It got hit by a missile or something… Israel it’s gone, it’s nuked. Whole world coming to an end today” the film does briefly show the misinformed lies that people believed that day, but from watching this type of misleading movie, I’m more inclined in thinking a missile did hit the Pentagon.

The film apart from the disinformation, heaves with sentimental moodiness, schlocky acting, and cheap looking set pieces. There’s Maria Bello endlessly sobbing and Maggie Gylanhaal (who should be used to falling aircraft debris after “Donnie Darko”) playing the doting wife. In fact the mawkish atmosphere of the film is only surpassed by its bargain-basement props. When you’re watching Michael Peña’s character Will Jimeno trapped under a lump of cement that moves when he breathes, you know you’re watching an amateur-made pile of shite. On a side note, in a scene when Jimeno almost dies, he blacks out and sees a vision or hallucination of Jesus, and although his face is obscured you can tell he’s white. I guess Stone loves promoting propaganda that’s hundreds of years old too. The ethnicity of the real Semite Jesus was closer to the alleged terrorists of the day, but that isn’t the kind of thing a Hollywood movie will ever show us. When Jesus brings Peña a bottle of water, knowing the time and place of the event, we can assume that it was probably fluoridated.

Michael Shannon plays Dave Karnes in the movie (who re-enlisted in the Marines and served two tours in Iraq we’re told in the end credits) and he is a ridiculously caricatured character. Karnes, a pentecostal military twat from Wisconsin on God’s mission to save the country, pretty much single-handedly saves the day in the film. At the height of his saviour-related antics, he utters the ghastly line “We’re not leaving you buddy, we’re Marines!” adding “You are our mission!” …Ooh-rah! I could just imagine the brainwashed audience chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A!” in unison. Shannon then says “We’re gonna need good men out there to avenge this”, and not only does this line make you puke, it aligns the attack firmly with the war in Iraq even though we all know Saddam Hussein and the entire country of Iraq had bollocks all to do with 9/11. It also promotes soldiers and the military as righteous despite the fact that the actual “avenging” included horrid events such as Abu Ghraib and the slaying of innocent civilians in a helicopter airstrike exposed on Wikileaks, I guess they didn’t find “good men to avenge this” after all. Upon viewing this trash, it made me extremely weary of both patriotism and militarism, worst of all it made me question what I’d thought of Oliver Stone during his JFK-period.

Nicolas Cage‘s character narrates the closing of the movie, he says “9/11 showed us what human beings are capable of. The evil yeah sure, but it also brought out the goodness we forgot could exist. People taking care of each other for no other reason than it was the right thing to do” he goes on “It’s important to talk about that good, to remember”. It seemed to me this “remembering” conveniently glazed over the hate of that day, and when I say hate, I mean hate from the American people. Cage’s line alludes to the fact that “evil” was merely a trait of the alleged terrorists, but if it’s so good to remember, then it’s also good to remember all the evil and abhorrent stuff. A few years before 9/11, everybody looked back at events such as the McCarthy Witch-hunts, the internment camps after World War 2, and the racism and pointless violence of Vietnam with regret and shame, but it seems that these very people got reset that day. Once these imbeciles watched that footage of the Twin Towers falling on TV, pretty much the entire nation if not the entire world, all began to start witch-hunting, accepting internment camps, and even went on to back two illegal Vietnam-like wars based on falsified documents and outright lies. And then there was the horrid acts of racism and prejudice against Muslim Americans and even people who “looked” Muslim, I guess that’s “goodness” and “people taking care of each other” to Mr. Stone. God only knows what the Writer and Director was experiencing that day, all I saw was skewed patriotism, racial and religious hatred, blind acceptance of news, sucking-up to the Government, brown-nosing the New York Mayor, and a resurgence of militarism.

In order to appease his original fans who loved “JFK” but who were appalled by “World Trade Center”, Stone then hurriedly took part in a spot of documentary making. “Oliver Stone’s Untold History Of The United States” was a dull, drawn-out mess of a show. The background music was too loud and Stone’s deep, sluggish, droning voice-over was sleep-inducing. In one of the ten long-arse shows, he showed the viewer Bush Senior’s various falsifications during the conflict between Iraq and Kuwait and it showed the US Government goading people into war. It showed us a younger Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell too, but I guess by the time these same motherfuckers were knee-deep in the fakery of 9/11 (not to mention the Afghan & Iraq Wars) and while more falsifications were made by Bush Junior, Oliver Stone was busy making the bullshit “World Trade Center”. This to me confirmed what I thought all along, that Stone only has a controversial opinion when it’s politically non-threatening to his career. When speaking about the first Gulf War in the documentary, Stone says “The United States was something other than it professed to be, that it was in fact a military juggernaut intent on world domination”. At the point when he said “instead of explaining the real reason of the attacks…” I almost threw my shoe at the television. I didn’t see this fake-liberal hypocritical scum explain the real reason of the 9/11 attacks in his shitty film “World Trade Center”. The guy’s got some fucking nerve.

During some press to promote his “Untold History” documentary, Oliver Stone strangely said “There’s too much violence in our movies – and it’s all unreal to me”. He then began to speak about the TV series “Breaking Bad” and said “Nobody could park his car right then and there and could have a machine gun that could go off perfectly and kill all of the bad guys! It would be a joke.” adding “It’s only in the movies that you find this kind of fantasy violence. And that’s infected the American culture; you young people believe all of this shit! Batman and Superman, you’ve lost your minds, and you don ‘t even know it! At least respect violence. I’m not saying don’t show violence, but show it with authenticity…” He went on to say “If people think that bringing a machine gun to your last meeting is a solution to a television series that’s very popular, I think they’re insane. Something’s wrong. It’s not the world we know.” What a fucking crock of shit, I mean let’s not forget that this is the same guy who wrote “Scarface”, a film so false and so unauthentic that it single-handedly romanticised drug selling, drug use, gang violence, demonised and stereotyped Latin Americans, and even ruined Hip-Hop culture. For Stone to now turn around and criticise violence it’s the epitome of hypocritical, and the fact that the last ten films he’s made aren’t even as watchable or enjoyable as a TV Show is pretty astounding. “Breaking Bad” was better than anything he’s created for over a decade, who the fuck does he think he is?

So let’s break this down; Oliver Stone is overtly anti-Bush (but then again who isn’t?) and he apparently voted for Obama twice… what a radical man he must be. But wouldn’t a real liberal see past the fakery of politicians and indeed government in general, for someone approaching seventy how many times can you be fucked over by the government and sent to war based on a lie? Either he’s the dumbest fucker in America or he’s a counterfeit liberal. A president who was given a Nobel Peace Prize despite continuing with two wars isn’t exactly the choice of a genuine left-wing voter, he didn’t even close Guantanamo as promised, so voting for him twice is exactly the kind of bullshit a fake-left-wing celebrity does. In any case, how left-wing can Stone be when he enlisted in the United States Army and is the son of a stockbroker? His movie “Wall Street” unintentionally (or more likely intentionally) romanticised and promoted excess, corporatism, and capitalism, is that the actions of someone who’s left-wing?

His Vietnam movies too usually masqueraded as liberal and “anti-war” but they constantly showed the plight and suffering of U.S. Soldiers rather than the Vietnamese victims. We the audience were supposed to feel sorry for American Vets in both “Platoon” and “Born On The Forth Of July” but we only very quickly glanced at the suffering of the other side, what about the millions of innocent Vietnamese who were massacred? At the end of the day, someone trained to kill knows they might get killed too, or even maimed, isn’t that to be expected? But an innocent civilian getting killed, tortured, raped, I guess that kind of thing is just a passing scene in Stone’s movies as someone like Charlie Sheen cries his eyes out… oh woe is me, let’s all shed a tear for the American. A legitimate and bona fide anti-war sentiment can never be brought to you by someone who enlisted in the military when they were n-n-n-n-nineteen, so fuck Oliver Stone’s fake post-war opinions.

You can see a similar kind of fraudulent façade across much of his filmography. Despite being a solid film, it can’t be ignored that Stone made a movie about the John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy during a time when it was beginning to be spoken about in popular culture anyway. A much more dangerous time to air this kind of opinion was in the sixties and seventies; a time when something like “Executive Action” was made, a time when Stone was busy making a short film about ‘Nam. Widely known conspiracies aside, even when it comes to something as trivial as the biopic “The Doors” Oliver Stone conveniently ignored the fact that Jim Morrison’s father was the very Admiral who commanded the Navy in the Gulf Of Tonkin… yes, the same Gulf Of Tonkin Incident that escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War (despite the incident never really occurring) another conspiracy theory that turned out to be true. Mix this with the fact that the Hippie movement (along with groups such as The Doors) were a C.I.A. led sham to control the anti-war movement, and you’ll look back at his so-called “historical” movies with a new perspective. It seems every time he brings you the so-called truth, Oliver Stone sells you a distorted version of the past… lies are being peddled by this overrated writer/director.

To me Oliver Stone is much worse than a sellout, he is for all intents and purposes a military propaganda maker, an expert at hiding behind the mask of liberal thinking and anti-war, anti-establishment ideas. Like most prominent left-wing faces, he is the antithesis of what he portrays, just like most of the hippie movement he is a fake-left-wing interloper. This modern-day schizophrenic public opinion of supporting the troops but hating the idea of war is exactly the kind of oxymoronic stupidity he’s been encouraging since the eighties. Oliver Stone is marketed by Hollywood as a counter-culture liberal, an ex-Protestant Buddhist, and an anti-war-slash-ex-army vet; he’s very cleverly pro and anti American depending on how it places his public persona against certain events, and he’s a conspiracy theorist only when it suits. You can bet your last bitcoin that his upcoming film “Snowden” will cover information already publicly known and he’ll combine an anti-NSA, anti-spying plot whilst simultaneously (and contradict-ally) applauding the individual spies. The finished film will come off like it’s saying something when in reality it will be a cleverly disguised distraction from further questions. Get set for some more camouflaged propaganda, as Oliver Stone’s opinions go back and to the left.


4 replies »

  1. Interesting article.

    I think the fact you point out films after 1999 is quite a big one. After 9/11 in 2001 the world has never been the same again and thus the powers that be have a stronger hand in the narrative and shaping on how films come across to the public.

    Knowing his popularity for good films prior to this like JFK, controlling the narrative of his 9/11 film output would result in the breakdowns you listed and critical thinking being massaged away by the masses.

    The naive public buy into the sentiments of loss and patriotism the film portrays and bending to the justification of US war maneuverers. Add in the brand of a big name director like Oliver Stone, viewers will be lulled in to sense of quality film making from a reputable director.

    Got me thinking is it Oliver Stone? or is it the powers that be clipping his wings? Eg would he have been allowed with his reputation to highlight the obvious that 9/11 was an inside job? just like JFK being taken out was?

    1992 – JFK film access to the internet was not a thing for the masses. We are told the government is now clean and changed up. You take it at face value masses accept the pill of truth via the controlled main mass mediums like TV, Radio and controlled newpapers. The world carries on.

    2001 – 9/11 event
    2006 – Film drops, during age of information at our finger tips, thus allowing more critical thinking. (the controlled mediums, work harder to seed a message versus the internet) Control the medium of screenplay and the whole movie industry.

    His recent Snowden film, equally goes against the grain of 9/11 and alleged support of wikileaks.

    According to wikipedia, he will be involved with upcoming film “Guantanamo” (which I assume will be about the injustice there) again going against the 9/11 film theme.

    (his so called left wing Obama loving rhetoric..)

    Yeah I smell a fake rebel to the cause too…

    • I agree. I haven’t watched “Snowden” yet but I haven’t been in a rush to watch any of his films after being disappointed by “World Trade Center”. I would add that Stone always makes movies once an opinion becomes part of the public’s awareness (possibly to control it) even JFK was made after a big interest in the “grassy knoll” and multiple shooters, in fact it was based on a popular book by Jim Marrs (Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy).

      In today’s world, Guantanamo Bay and Edward Snowden are topics that are widely known to be of interest to liberals, hence his hijacking of them. Just like anti-Vietnam sentiments tackled in some of his films, I always feel like Oliver Stone is someone who stops people from looking any further, he’s the trusted “left-wing” film-maker that will get to the truth so you don’t have to. His “Putin Interviews” too (which I also haven’t watched yet) are all part of a faux anti-American distraction. Russia is as corrupt as America, as is much of the world, but Oliver Stone will probably make it look like there’s somewhere in the world that’s better than the West when in reality all of the world’s leaders are, for lack of a better word, evil.

  2. They got to him. I read an interview with Ollie in Playboy and he stated the main lesson he learned from his time in Hollywood is don’t stick your head in the oven to see if it’s hot or something to that effect but the meaning was clear, the government can hit back.

  3. In my opinion ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Platoon’ are two of his best movies to date.

    ‘JFK’ was a contrived and self indulgent up itself boreathon -and had nothing new or interesting to say.

    ‘World trade centre’ was utter bilge.

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