The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

TALK RADIO (1988) ****

Whenever people are discussing great Oliver Stone movies, they usually neglect mentioning this intense drama written by and starring Eric (Under Siege 2:  Dark Territory) Bogosian.  Not many people can make one guy with a microphone talking in a radio station suspenseful and gripping but Stone is one of them.  Talk Radio is another one of Stone’s overlooked underappreciated gems.


Bogosian stars as Barry Champlain, a late night shock jock whose rantings and ravings draw the ire of his listeners.  Whenever they call in to the station, Champlain spews his venom at the callers before hanging up on them.  When one of his rants infuriates some Neo-Nazis, they threaten his life on the air.  Nonplussed by the pressure put on by his producer (Alec Baldwin) or his demented listeners, Champlain continues to run his mouth with tragic results.


Talk Radio is a movie about the consequences of Free Speech.  Even though his listeners threaten his life and his sponsors get antsy, Champlain never sells out and waters down his act.  He may have alienated his co-workers and ruined his marriage in the process, but to Champlain, he got to say his peace and that’s what really mattered.


Talk Radio is also an impressive vehicle for Bogosian’s talent.  The film had it’s origins in a one-man show and he is so good in the flick that it still would’ve been great if there weren’t any supporting players.  He gives an amazing performance and you really hang on his every word.


To Stone’s credit, he’s not just content to let Bogosian rant and rave.  He really does some interesting things with the camera, like the De Palma-ish 360 degree turns and predatory Steadicam shots.  Although the scenes outside of the radio station aren’t quite as involving or interesting, whenever Bogosian is behind the mike, Talk Radio is nothing short of electrifying.

Tags: drama, oliver stone, t
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