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Chasing the Light
By John Crandell (reviewer)
Chasing the Light: Writing, Directing, and Surviving Platoon, Midnight Express, Scarface, Salvador, and the Movie Game
by Oliver Stone
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)
It is 9 pm here in the west, seven hours after closing time in Chicago, i.e. - the editor's deadline for this spring's edition of The Veteran. I've yet to read Oliver Stone's brief, closing chapter of his memoir published last summer by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Chasing The Light.
Nevertheless, as a brief, post-last minute micro review one can only say that Stone's highly literate, transformative, haunting and resonant script is an astounding achievement. One can't imagine a Peckinpah, a Huston, a Bogdanovich or Altman or Cassavetes or Leone or any of Hollywood's present writer-director's producing such brutally honest and moving work.
As we all know, he humped with a rucksack long ago amidst the heat, humidity and horror of Vietnam. Having just finished his chapter describing location shooting for Platoon I'm moved to say that this one chapter—both in substance and in style—likely exceeds any written recollection to have come out of Hollywood, ever. Get this book for this singular masterpiece of a chapter alone and treasure it.
A registered landscape architect and a veteran of the Fourth Infantry in Vietnam, John Crandell retired from an engineering position with the Air Force in 2014 and now manages "The Farm" plus six felines, southeast of Sacramento.