Whether you love it or loathe it, Stone’s 1991 classic, JFK, is a masterpiece, a tour de force of filmmaking. Critics have labeled it a propaganda film, and I agree, but that hardly makes it any less brilliant. JFK is, hands down, my favorite film. I actually tend to think of it as a horror film, one more devastatingly nightmare-inducing than even the best Freddie Kruger or Jason film. It was the scariest movie I’d ever seen because I walked into the theatre as one person and left as another. I walked in thinking and believing one way and walked out terribly shaken and disturbed.
It was, I believe, a film a little before its time. I’m unsure in this cynical age if JFK would have been nearly as controversial in 2013 as it was in 1991. Stone is accused of undermining American trust in our national institutions, which is laughable considering an American president took us into a desert war under knowingly false pretenses. Haters tend to miss the forest for the trees, accusing Stone of manipulating if not outright brainwashing Americans, when brainwashing Americans is what Google, Facebook, and virtually all news media and advertising do twenty-four hours per day. The government lies to us all the time, don’t blame Oliver Stone for that. All of his critics miss the point of the true power of his brilliant masterpiece: it changed a nation. It forced an act of Congress. It got the planet talking about the assassination again. Name me five other American films in the history of cinema that did that.