As a film buff, I love historical fiction and alternate history films. “Inglorious Basterds” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” intrigue me with their ability to take historical events and characters and place them into compelling narratives. Which leads me to my love-hate relationship with Oliver Stone.
I was watching JFK not long ago and had forgotten what a well-crafted film that was. The story is gripping, the acting, by a stellar cast, was phenomenal and the cinematography was stunning. It occurred to me how fast and loose Stone was with the history. Under the cover of slick and superior filmmaking was a boatload of innuendo, half-truths and outright distortions. Why did he do that?
Don’t misunderstand. I like Oliver Stone’s work and think he is one of our finest filmmakers. As I went back through interviews not just about JFK but about other work from his resume it’s clear that he has a particular view of the world. He wants to assert his perspective, which I don’t fault him for at all, and he’s using the silver screen as his platform. The problem is there are a lot of people convinced the events portrayed in the film are historical fact. There are people involved with the events surrounding the assassination that can confirm Stone got it wrong.
Oliver Stone is a smart man and a gifted storyteller. I don’t think he’s given to delusions or paranoia. I suspect he knew exactly what he was doing when he put the story of JFK to film. He wants people consider his theory about what happened on November 22, 1963 in Dallas. He will leverage his influence as a respected artist to advance his personal angle and try to convince the viewer of the same. Did you catch that? Stone tries to inform people what to think and feel about something by leveraging his influence.The problem is how he goes about it.
Hmmm…I wonder if people will ever think Hitler was really killed by a squad of Jewish-American soldiers or that Abraham Lincoln actually hunted vampires.
What about you? How do you achieve your influence?