BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003520Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
South of the Border
BLU-RAY disk
Dec 8, 2010 By: Chris Bumbray
South of the Border order download
Director:
Oliver Stone

Actors:
Hugo Chavez
Oliver Stone

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Director Oliver Stone examines the phenomenon of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
SOUTH OF THE BORDER is a film that really pissed me off. Now, please understand that I respect Oliver Stone as a filmmaker. He’s made loads of great films and at least a few of them (PLATOON, SALVADOR, THE DOORS, WALL STREET) are downright brilliant. However, he also has a parallel career as a documentarian- but his “documentaries” are nothing of the sort.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER starts off with a pretty damning critique of how the right-wing media in the United States has demonized Chavez. To an extent, I agree- and frankly, I don’t how anyone could ever watch Fox News and expect unbiased reporting, as the whole thing is a right-wing sham. BUT, the problem with SOUTH OF THE BORDER is that Stone is just as bad as the media he criticizes, with the exception that instead of being right-wing, he’s left.

His cuddly portrayal of Chavez is downright shocking at times. All he does is follow Chavez around the country side, as he’s cheered on by loyal constituents (none of the opposition at home, or abroad is ever interviewed). Then he follows Chavez to his old home, has him goof around on an old bike, tell the story of his “heroic” rise to power. Never does Stone dare ask him anything but softball questions, so if you’re expecting Chavez to elaborate on his ties with Iran, and the way his elections have been fixed, look elsewhere.

Later, Stone examines how Chavez has changed the political tide in his neighboring countries as well, and while some of the policies are interesting, we never get a voice of dissent. It’s sad to see Stone being used as a puppet, as twenty years ago, he might have gone in and asked the tough question, and presented a balanced documentary.

THE EXTRAS
There's actually some pretty substancial extars here, including deleted scenes , additional questions from Stone's interview with Chavez. There's also more on Political Changes in Venezuela , as well as a South American Tour which is a follow-up with Chavez a year after photography concluded on SOUTH OF THE BORDER.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Frankly, there’s not much here to warrant a recommendation. It’s an interesting film, and I agree that a balanced work about Chavez has yet to be made- but this certainly isn’t it. It’s a puff piece, just as bad as any of the glowing pieces Fox News did on George W. Bush back in the day.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or