Oliver Stone is in many ways the Quentin Tarantino of post-modern historical epics combined with the Julian Assange of cinema. This description fits Stone as his dramatic films often combine revisionist historical narratives with intentional fiction designed to thrill, disturb and excite. Over all, Stone’s films leave audiences ‘questioning more’ about official US narratives on both recent history and current events.
His recent documentaries Snowden, Ukraine of Fire and The Putin Interviews are a clear reflection of the Assange aspect of his craft. Like Julian Assange, Stone is from a western country but is deeply anti-western insofar as he eschews the propagandist agenda of film makers like Stephen Spielberg whose films boil down to ‘the west is best and even when the west makes mistakes, it humbly corrects itself’.
Although Stone rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s, today’s era is more tailor made for an artist like Stone than the decades which saw his rise to prominence.
Today’s age is the age that has been shaped by disastrous western led wars of aggression that started with Yugoslavia in the 1990s and reached its zenith during the Iraq War which started in 2003 and in many ways remains unfinished.
In Syria and Ukraine, western meddling helped turn Ukraine into a fascist failed state that thankfully no longer governs the historic Russian region of Donbass. It will likely never do so ever again. Likewise, while the west caused years of carnage in Syria, President al-Assad’s secular Ba’athist government remains in power and looks to shape a post-war return to peace and normalcy.
Compare this to the ease with which the west obliterated Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia and one realises that like in the Vietnam era in which Stone grew-up, Americans are facing the fact that their country causes more damage in losing wars than most other countries do in winning them.
Stone’s approach to Putin is one that can be only described as necessary from the point of view of western mainstream media audiences who have watched Stone’s films but may not necessarily be viewers of RT, listeners of Sputnik or readers of The Duran.
Stone has decided to approach interviewing the Russian President from a perspective of respect, realism, intrigue rather than pre-judgement and manliness rather than that of a small bully that Putin could and does regularly chew up and spit out.
The Stone interviews thus far make far more compelling viewing than the interviews recently conducted with Putin by the Trump hating Megyn Kelly of mainstream media outlet NBC.
The Kelly-Putin interviews looked a bit like an over-excited schoolgirl trying to score MSM hit points on a seasoned professional. Kelly made the interview into a contest and it isn’t surprising that she lost.
Stone took an entirely different approach. Stone wanted to get to know Putin as a man before getting to know Putin as the President. Unlike many western leaders, Vladimir Putin is very easy to speak to as he is forthcoming, highly detailed in his answers, straight forward and knows which parts of his personal life he wants to share and which parts to keep private. Putin is comfortable with who he is.
Stone understood that and approached Putin with genuine curiosity about what goes on in the life and head of one of the most influential leaders in modern history, something even few of his international opponents can now deny.
The result is an interview that while presented in the dark post-glitz Hollywood style that Stone pioneered, is also deeply human and real. Western audiences will now get to see Putin from an American perspective, but more specifically from an alt-American perspective.
After all, Stone’s approach to the JFK assassination, to the Vietnam war, the music of the Vietnam era and more recently his approach to 9/11 and whistle-blowers in the US, is classic revisionist Americana. It is not un-American or anti-American as some would say. It takes the American pride in free speech and unregulated journalism at face value and uses it to question why the powers that be in the US behave like everything American kids are told to hate: shameless, money drenched dictators using their power to propagate lies and cause unproductive and disastrous wars.
In the decades since Stone first achieved fame, Hollywood and its cousin the mainstream media have become even worse. Apocalypse Now which showed the dark side of American neo-imperialism has been replaced by films where every villain is Russian and every American is somehow ordained to be some sort of hero. Likewise, mainstream media has gone from the Edward R. Murrow narrative which questions power to the sugar-coated Spielberg narrative which questions nothing.
America has become an action film with pompous Disney happy endings. Many people are sick of it, even though some are hard pressed to define why.
Oliver Stone has used an interview with one of the most blatantly realistic, intelligent and capable leaders of the world to shine America’s incompetence back at it and best of all, at the end of the day, Stone was ‘born in the USA’ as the song goes.
Like Julian Assange, Stone was questioning the western narrative before it became cool and more importantly, before it became synonymous in the west with being a ‘Putin agent’.
I can think of no better man to interview the world-leader that the MSM tell unquestioning Americans that they must love to hate.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.