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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Savages, from Award-Winning Director Oliver Stone

Written by Kirk Baird

Remember when Oliver Stone was as much about entertaining audiences as he was preaching to them?

Apparently Stone had someone or something jog his memory, since his latest movie, Savages, marks a return to form for the filmmaker. Based on Don Winslow’s bestselling novel, Savages is the story of two successful drug dealers in Southern California and their shared girlfriend whose lives are radically altered after a Mexican drug cartel attempts to take over their business. The film is edgy, violent, dramatic, and twisty. And no, you don’t have to dig too deep to find messages either.

Here are some other highlights from Stone’s more than three decades of film work:

Midnight Express (1978): Stone wrote this unforgettable drama about the horrific plight of an American caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey.

Scarface (1983): Stone also wrote this classic twisted celebration of the American Dream and a stern rebuke of the excesses that often come with it.

Salvador (1986): The director turns political in only his second film, assessing the escalating government-rebel war in El Salvador through the eyes of an American photojournalist.

Platoon (1986): Stone’s most personal film about his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam remains his defining film.

Wall Street (1987): Michael Douglas earned his Oscar as corporate raider Gordon Gekko, who utters the immortal line, “greed … is good.”

Talk Radio (1988): An overlooked film in Stone’s career and based on a one-man play, this searing and claustrophobic drama examines a provocative radio host who pushes his audience and himself too far.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989): Tom Cruise plays against type in the stirring autobiographic story of Ron Kovic, a soldier paralyzed in Vietnam who becomes an antiwar crusader.

The Doors (1991): Val Kilmer’s Oscar-nominated performance as Jim Morrison has almost been forgotten, but remains reason enough to see the film.

JFK (1991): The director takes on the Kennedy assassination in this Oscar-winning drama starring Kevin Costner that dives headfirst into the conspiracy theories that Oswald did not act alone.

Natural Born Killers (1994): A hyper-violent film that decries our cultural obsession with violence and celebrity…and Stone made this film years before reality TV.

Nixon (1995): Stone coaxes yet another tremendous lead performance from his star, this time Anthony Hopkins in the Oscar-nominated role of the disgraced U.S. president.

Any Given Sunday (1999): Stone takes on the NFL in this stylized and violent behind-the-scenes drama featuring a star-making performance by Jamie Foxx.

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