Talk Radio - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Talk Radio Reviews

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½ December 10, 2016
If it were possible to burn away your life, oh wait, just watch Talk Radio. This was easily in my top 10 list of worst movies ever watched. Let's put it this way, Alec Baldwin couldn't save it and he saved Canteen Boy! I have no words that are fitting for this film. It is not even worth repeating one second of the film. HA! I called it a film. It is exactly like having a boring 6 hour dream then repeating it to someone word for word. This was NOT good watching!
July 30, 2016
Talk Radio is a unique film about a Howard Stern-esque radio personality who is hated by many but is on the verge of being a nation wide entertainment icon. Although the true thrills are in the callers who call into his show such as a rapist, a murderer, a stalker and so on. I felt Oliver Stone knew excactly how to get the audience want to watch til the very end even if the ending could have been more powerful in a cinematic sense. The end of the story is a very power ending, don't get me wrong. However, it could have been filmed better. Otherwise, the film is an absolute thrill and you'll love it!
½ April 2, 2016
Not so sure about the story, but the script and performances are stellar
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2016
"Sticks and stones can break your bones but words cause permanent damage"

It's been difficult of late for director Oliver Stone to find a project that has the same spark or controversy of his earlier work. He was probably at his best back in the 1980's when he wrote the screenplay for Brian DePalma's Scarface and directed such visceral works as Salvador, the Oscar winning Platoon, Wall Street and Born on the Fourth of July. The one that seems to be least mentioned in his filmography, at this time, though, is the sadly overlooked, Talk Radio; his adaptation of Eric Bogosian's Pulitzer Prize nominated stage play.

Barry Champlain (Bogosian) is a late night 'shock DJ' who doesn't mince his words when it comes to rebelling against the opinions of his many callers. Night after night he takes calls and the more he rebels, the more he finds that his abrasive statements and scathing personal opinions are nothing more than entertainment for a disillusioned American public.

Maybe the reason this entry from Stone has been so overlooked is because it's not as culturally or historically significant as his aforementioned films. He's not trawling the war torn lands or jungles of El Salvador or Vietnam, nor even the frantic, greed-infused stock exchange. He's primarily stuck in one room - a small, pokey radio studio - and primarily focused on one man, making this essentially a chamber piece. But, don't be disheartened, this brings just as much drama with it's intense and claustrophobic exchanges. As expected, in such a minimal setting, the film is very much dialogue driven and this is largely at the command of a ruthless Bogosian. Whenever he's allowed to deliver his scathing rants and monologues (and there are many) the film has an energy and spark that makes for gleefully fraught entertainment.

The callers add as much spice to the proceedings as Champlain though, and it gives Stone a chance to depict the dark underbelly of America. There are calls from psychotic white supremacists, lonely cat people, doped up Rock and Rollers and suicidal lovers. Champlain doesn't pull his punches, though, he obnoxiously attacks and challenges these people for their contribution (or lack of) to society in general and even when their thoughts hold up a microscope to the disturbed psychosis of society it also displays that Champlain, himself, is no less tortured than the one's he sarcastically chooses to insult. As a result, it becomes a scathing indictment of what's wrong with America. Each caller is a representation of it's greed, it's consumerism, it's self-righteousness and it's racism. But that's not all. Stone and Bogosian lure us in, challenging us to question ourselves and question our own contribution to society, our own politics and our own self-awareness.

A highly charged and criminally overlooked film from Stone's catalogue. Dialogue driven it may be but this is a polemic who's bite is as ferocious as it's bark.

Mark Walker
December 30, 2015
I prefer the play, but it's really an impressive film.
October 3, 2015
"Talk Radio" gives the audience a character to root against the entire movie as a shock jock who insults people on his very popular late night talk show goes way too far one night. Not only is there spectacular direction and performance, the heavy monologues, also, are what make "Talk Radio" such a hit.
½ August 21, 2015
Interesting social commentary, adapted from a play by Eric Bogosian.

Plot is good, and insightful. Solid direction from Oliver Stone, in a more low-key movie that is better than many of his more well-known offerings.

However, the movie maybe feels too much like a play: long speeches, basic set.

In addition, the social commentary is pretty much rammed down your throat. There is hardly a likable character in the movie. A bit more subtlety and shades of gray would have been good.

This said, it makes a good point, and the performances are solid. Eric Bogosian reprises his role in the play to great effect.
May 19, 2015
Gorgeously uncomfortable.
½ December 31, 2014
Movies about a play are difficult....this one is impossible.
November 11, 2014
Dallas shock jock rides controversy to a national syndicate. I thought Bogosian was excellent but constant barrage of insults toward crank listeners and guests grates on the viewer as the movie progresses.
½ September 3, 2014
This was way darker and deeper than I expected it to be. It was almost overwhelming at points, thanks to the claustrophobic setting, the powerful script, and Bogosian's acting. I'm hearing Bogosian speak at my school tomorrow, and I'm really excited.
June 18, 2014
From 1986 to 1991 Oliver Stone was untouchable. This gem was sandwiched in between and loosely based on the death or Radio DJ Alan Berg. Eric Bogosian is superb as the mother mouth disc jockey.
January 5, 2014
Even though the whole film is basically a guy talking on the radio, the dialogue is exceptional and the performance by Bogosian is phenomenal.
½ December 29, 2013
A Dallas radio talk show host is about to get a big to be broadcast nationwide. He has a reputation for being belligerent towards the callers who call in and he angers a number of them. He gets threats from a neo-nazi group, but blows them off and treats them like everyone else. The scenes where he is on the radio doing his thing, it is interesting, but it got old after a while and I got bored since it became more of the same. There isn't really much of a story except for that neo-nazi and his wife. neither really warrant the run time of the film. I just couldn't enjoy this one quite as much as I should.
November 30, 2013
One of my favorite movies, gripping from beginning to end. Bogosian is so fun to watch in this.
½ November 12, 2013
Lähtisin siitä, että Oliver Stone ei ole ensisijaisesti syvällinen ajattelija.
October 28, 2013
Arguably the best monologues save "JFK" in any Oliver Stone picture. Being a fan of Bogosian's work, "Talk Radio" has a special place in my heart and it's pure electricity.
July 18, 2013
Superior drama based on the play with a great performance by Eric Bogosian, who also co-wrote the play. Really packs a punch with it's excellent dialogue and directing by Oliver Stone. A real classic.
½ July 17, 2013
Almost the entire film takes place inside of Barry's studio, and yet we can easily feel the sweaty hatred, fear, and loneliness creeping in through the telephones and microphones. Here is a man whose profession is built around listening and responding to the whims of callers, whose attitudes, experiences, and agendas all vary, although most are polemically directed at the man himself. Within the boundaries of this electronic and claustrophobic studio, everything goes and Barry must live in it like a jungle. The only weapon he has against this eclectic madness, this mad rush of voices, is his own pompous sense of self-importance. The intensity is right smack in our faces, as Oliver Stone is so wont to do with his films, with Dutch angles and hallucinatory set productions. The result is a sardonic, bleak, though not unfounded self-reflection of our society, which even today consists of media which praises the pain so long as it belongs to another.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2013
While among Oliver Stone's less known work, Talk Radio is one of his most interesting films nonetheless. The film looks at a shock radio personality, whose shtick both endears him to some and alienates him from others, culminating in his eventual death, being based on actual events.

Taking place predominately in one setting, a radio studio, Stone was able to create a very noticeable level of intensity and earnestness, albeit a very confined intensity. This is a testament to his style of scene building, with an especially keen sense of framing that both underscores the emotion of the scene, and creates great tension. This works, as the film is essentially a character study, and an exploration of the medium of radio as well, a medium both intensely personal and yet also impersonal.

The performance by Eric Bogosian really anchors the film. His manic energy, his seeming callousness, his cynicism, embodies the role perfectly. Through the progression of the film, we see his character arc, which is done in both an authentic and organic way.

The themes explored in Talk Radio are done well. It captures the societal fascination with decadence and the mundane in powerful way, while also being a commentary on our modern media culture. Some of the dialogue used in the radio scenes can be stilted at times, but it's always sold well by Bogosian.

An overall underrated and overlooked smartly executed gem by Stone.

4/5 Stars
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