Stone: U.S. Had 'Constitutional Breakdown'
Oliver Stone, conservative hero?
That's not such a farfetched idea, says Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times.
Goldstein says Stone's new film, "World Trade Center," is an uplifting, unabashedly sentimental drama, and a perfect example of the folly of judging a filmmaker by his politics instead of his work.
Writes Goldstein: "This is, after all, Hollywood's prince of darkness, the man who not only brought us such wild-eyed fare as 'JFK' and 'Natural Born Killers,' but who also, soon after the attacks, referred to the catastrophe as 'the revolt on Sept. 11,' linking it to a rebellion against six media companies who 'run the world.'"
According to Goldstein, "When Stone was announced as the director of the project last year, a wide variety of editorialists and bloggers went into spasms of outrage. As one conservative blogger put it: 'To allow [Stone's] poisoned and deranged mind to pollute the memory of 9/11 by re-creating it in the likeness of his vile fantasies is beyond obscene.'
"Paramount Pictures, which bankrolled the $63 million film, was so worried about Stone's bomb-thrower reputation that the studio hired a media firm that played a prominent role in various conservative causes, notably the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group that attacked Sen. John F. Kerry's Vietnam record during the 2004 presidential campaign, to do outreach in the conservative community. Paramount also tried to avert a backlash in Washington by having screenings of the film and its trailer for members of Congress.
"Now that many of Stone's critics have seen the movie, written by Andrea Berloff, they've changed their tune. Cal Thomas, a leading conservative columnist, called it 'one of the greatest pro-American, pro-family, pro-faith, pro-male, flag-waving, God Bless America films you will ever see.'"
Despite the new embrace of conservatives, Goldstein says Stone is as outspoken as ever on politics. "I've traveled the world and seen it everywhere — we lost the trust of the world," he quotes Stone as saying. "So now we have more death from terror, not less. Not to mention a constitutional breakdown."
When asked by Goldstein what constitutional breakdown he was referring to, Stone replied: "America, that's who!" he says. "You know, there's a great line from 'Alexander': 'Conquer your fear and you will conquer death.' That's what the heroes of our film and the rescuers did on 9/11. But since then, we haven't fought smartly. We've fought stupidly. We've overreached.
"We had something to learn from [countries that have successfully fought terrorism in recent history], but we ignored them. We didn't have to go to war in Iraq when the enemy was really 4,000 al-Qaida fighters in Afghanistan. If we had successfully hunted down Osama Bin Laden, we could've finished him off and most people would've still been with us."
According to Goldstein, Stone doesn't buy the argument that filmmakers should keep their politics to themselves. "I served my time in Vietnam," says Stone. "I pay my taxes. So why am I being muffled and censored as a celebrity? Why can't I speak out as a human being?"
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