It's been a while since we've gotten a truly great Oliver Stone picture.
Though Savages felt like the once famed rabble-rousing auteur doing a decent Tony Scott impersonation, it still had Blake Lively lustfully intoning "wargasms" via voice over, so it was tough to take the action flick 100% seriously (if we're being real, that's basically Stone's Domino). W. is probably the last movie worth standing up for in about a decade's time, and the less we talk about the saccharine, misguided World Trade Center, the better (ditto Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). In fact, the last time we received truly "vintage Oliver Stone" was his uneven yet wholly thrilling football drama Any Given Sunday (which contains one of Al Pacino's most bombastic performances).
However, it's worth noting that - despite not delivering a superlative narrative feature in quite a while - Stone has still been doing great work on the non-fiction filmmaking front. His Putin Interviews were a compelling look at the Russian leader, and The Untold History of the United States stoked his usual radical fire. Meanwhile, South of the Border continued Stone's fascination with South American politics, a throughline that began with his somewhat overlooked James Woods/Jim Belushi drama Salvador.
Perhaps Stone himsellf realizes he hasn't knocked a feature out of the park for a while, which could explain why his upcoming White Lies - the screenplay for which the director wrote himself - sounds like such a major departure. Per Deadline:
"In a story covering three generations, the film will follow Jack, a child of divorce now repeating his parents’ mistakes in his own marriage and with his troubled son. Feeling trapped, he embarks on a lust-filled journey to free himself, but only becomes more lost. When he meets a woman whose life is the opposite of his own, he begins a journey of rediscovery."
While we should always be excited when any great auteur decides to step back behind the camera, sweetening the deal here is the fact that Stone has cast Benicio Del Toro as his lead. Stone has gotten great work out of Del Toro in the past - as he and Salma Hayek were the most memorable parts of Savages - so learning the filmmaker will be guiding the wonderful actor through what sounds like a rather steamy drama is delicious.
Further casting is underway, with production scheduled to begin in New York come Spring 2019. Here's hoping Stone can reclaim his former glory with White Lies, as this feels like it could be the 71-year-old maverick's last shot at helping his legacy instead of continuing to hurt it.