Making movies is my way of exorcising demons, of creating an ethos,
a philosophy of life. I'd go crazy without fantasy."
- Oliver Stone, Los Angeles Times Magazine, 17th December 1989.
Whether dealing with deep-rooted political themes or post modern pulp, broad-canvas epics or microcosmic character explorations, Oliver Stone has never failed to attract controversy and mixed critical reactions through his risk-taking brand of confrontational guerrilla filmmaking. Not content to conform to Hollywood's standards of convention and 'safe' filmmaking, not too distant and pretentious to isolate his audience, Stone has achieved success both commercially and artistically, blurring the line between sensation-driven profiteering cinema and high art.
Stone's art has been most acclaimed for its effective melding of satirical social commentary with innovative, break-neck stylistic elements. An ever-moving camera, the incorporation of particularly poignant lyrical music, an uncanny ability of recreating epic historical sequences through a perfectionist attention to detail - especially in regards to the direction of extras, the juxtaposition of a variety of cinematographic textures and film stocks, and dynamic cutting stand as Stone's most accomplished stylistic developments.
The filmmaker is concerned with creating self-consciously radical, wildly unconventional, corrosively satirical, savagely violent and vulgar works, his blitzkrieg style used to both entertain and educate the masses in accordance with Stone's personal perspectives regarding the corruption of American institutions.
In reflecting upon Stone's body of work, it must be said that the director, regardless of the level of criticism and sensation he has created, possesses a remarkable intuitive filmmaking sensibility. While his central protagonists have maintained similar characteristics throughout his oeuvre, the director has seamlessly traversed genres, created his own blend of break-neck stylistic urgency, and elevated his actors to new heights of personal expression. He is a director unafraid of charging forward forcefully in his brand of artistic warfare, throwing off the shackles of conventional Hollywood thought in his mission to explore the furthest possibilities of the medium.
Creating with an unrivalled compulsion that suggests the creator's fear of his own mortality and the artistic void that may remain in his absence, Stone has not only produced an astonishing amount of quality material in a brief period, but has evolved as an artist to the point at which he now appears to recognise the process of art as being a continual, regenerative process of self-reflection and improvement. His uncanny ability at shaping and guiding the performances of his lead actors, while complementing their brilliant portrayals with equally considered production design, cinematographic and aural elements has proven Stone to be a true master of his art.
The following collection of links offer a well-rounded interpretation of the postmodern master's work:
Sites on Stone
- Oliver Stone - This site effectively dissects both the work of Stone, and the mystery of the man himself, while providing up-to-date news, reviews and images regarding Stone's career.
- T-Rex's Oliver Stone Page - offering film reviews, an extensive filmography and news related to Stone.
- Seizure (1974) - The Internet Movie Database's summarized collection of tidbits regarding the film and its construction.
- The Hand (1974) - Yet another film summary from the IMDb.
- Salvador (1986) - An in-depth review of Stone's first major feature film, complemented with still shots from the movie.
- Platoon (1986) - Roger Ebert's moving critique of the film considered by many to be Stone's most significant work.
- JFK (1992) - A scene-by-scene breakdown of the historical innacuacies presented in Stone's subjective, controversial work of artistic license.
- Natural Born Killers (1994) - Stone's stylistic feast is celebrated at this equally colorful, multimedia laden site.
- Nixon (1995) - This site presents a summary/review of Stone's most subtley powerful work, complementing such with a production details file, and a photo gallery showcasing the film's remarkable chiaroscuro style.
- U-Turn (1997) - Sony's official site complementing Stone's French New Wave-inspired postmodern film noir.