the fresh films reviews

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Talk Radio (1988)

Directed by:
Oliver Stone


Talk Radio

110 minutes

Produced by:
A. Kitman Ho
Edward R. Pressman
Written by (based on the play by Eric Bogosian):
Oliver Stone
Eric Bogosian

Cast includes:

Barry Champlain Eric Bogosian
Dan Alec Baldwin ˝
Ellen Ellen Greene ˝
Laura Leslie Hope
Stu John C. McGinley
Chuck Dietz John Pankow -
Kent Michael Wincott ˝



With Talk Radio, Oliver Stone turned Eric Bogosian’s award-winning play into a totally engrossing and constantly equivocal movie about a controversial talk radio host whose late-night program is simultaneously attracting, amusing and angering listeners. Bogosian plays the lead as Barry Champlain himself (as he had done in the off-Broadway play), and he is magnetic with his exuberance of conflicting qualities. Champlain is an insensitive workaholic narcissist – but he is also a social warrior with an intrinsic compassion for people, and he is putting himself on the line for the show to the detriment of himself and his relationships. His recklessness is what propels him to success – and then threatens to take him down. Set almost exclusively inside the radio studio, the movie neither can or want to hide its theatre legacy, but Stone keeps the camera, the dialogue, and the thematic shifts constantly moving, so that you never get the chance to feel manipulated or bored. And cinematographer Robert Richardson's underlit, evocative images and inventive camerawork help suck you in as the movie tightens it grip on you with its bleak social commentary.

Re-reviewed: Copyright © 07.08.2023 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright © 05.02.1998 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang