Talk Radio 1988 ***

Long before internet chat-rooms, comments banks and twitter became the repositories for public hate and argument, talk radio was the front line when it came to racial disagreement, and Oliver Stone’s 1988 thriller goes straight for the jugular. In a film adapted from his own play, Eric Bogosian plays Barry Champlain, a shock jock based in Dallas whose show is a lightning rod for debate, anger and general public disaffection with modern life. Stone’s film takes inspiration from Stephen Singular’s book Talked To Death and draws on the murder of talk-show host Alan Berg, with Robert Richardson’s cinematography making something highly disturbing from the closed environment of the studio. Alec Baldwin is ideal as the pushy boss, while Michael Wincott is suitably disconcerting as the prank caller who gets invited tonto the show; Talk Radio is theatrical, but also compelling it its consideration of the extreme forces at work in modern-day USA.


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