15 June 2017 | sonnygoten
Very interesting to see the differences in style of self-presentation. Also, my compliments to Oliver for not being patronizing to his viewers.
Having seen all 4 parts, the first thing that I noted is the highly interesting differences between Putin as opposed to his Western counterparts in style of presentation. I found Putin's style to be less glamorous, less glitzy, and less artificial compared to western (read: USA) politicians. There's one scene in which he sits rather awkwardly and keeps tapping his feet, so you see his knees bobbing up and down; and another in which he keeps picking at his finger. I also found that in his manner of behavior he seemed much less desperate for approval compared to USA politicians and, rather than delivering fast one- liners that sound good, he takes his times to answer, even making pauses and wearing facial expressions that (to me) seem awkward. I don't know if he's just THAT good of an actor or if it's simply a cultural difference, and I can't judge whether the USA style is better or worse than Putin's style, but the difference in self-presentation is still very striking to me and interesting to see played out like this.
Concerning the manner in which Oliver Stone conducted the interviews, I definitely liked it. They were done in a casual manner and with room for humor (I laughed my butt off at that coffee scene in the 4th part), but at the same time they allowed room for serious topics. Sometimes Oliver missed an opportunity to ask further critical questions; sometimes he tried to agree and please a bit too much to get Putin comfortable, but I liked the overall absence of any preconceived judgmental attitudes that many western journalists/interviewers have when interacting (read: arguing) with Putin. This allowed Putin to express his viewpoints in a relatively relaxed setting without the constant need to go on the defense; and it allows us viewers to make our own judgment on the man and his ideas, without being forced into adopting the viewpoint of a patronizing interviewer.
My conclusion on Putin himself: There are some points that I agree with in his vision and some that I don't, and I also think that he portrayed himself and Russia in... let's just say 'highly glowing terms that are not always deserved', but that's a given considering his current position as Russian President. I absolutely love the way he insists on calling his USA counterparts "partners", though; it feels equal parts ironic, patronizing, and yet also re-conciliatory; and I'm pretty sure Putin intended it to be that multi-layered. The man definitely has a sense of humor that I can appreciate.
Lastly, I should mention that I was rather shocked by some of the news segments interspersed in the interview, especially in the 3rd part; they were highly graphic in nature and I hadn't been notified of that beforehand. So, viewer discretion is advised. If you plan on showing this to children for educational purposes such as politics class, debate teams, etc. there should definitely be an adult present in the room; and, while I'm all pro-free-information-flow and pro- education, I would even then not show this to anyone under age ten, because it's graphic and it's REAL, not ketchup.