HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Salvador Journalism Under Fire
Year: 1986
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: James Woods, James Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage, Elpidia Carrillo, Tony Plana, Colby Chester, Cynthia Gibb, Will McMillan, Valerie Wildman, José Carlos Ruiz, Jorge Luke, Juan Fernández, Salvador Sánchez, Rosario Zúñiga, Martín Fuentes, John Doe
Genre: Drama, War, BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: The year is 1980 and photographic journalist Richard Boyle (James Woods) is having trouble at home: he and his young family have been kicked out their apartment, so he desperately needs work. He gets on the phone to whoever he thinks can help him, then has a brainwave: why not return to El Salvador, that troubled Central American country, where he has left behind another woman, Maria (Elpidia Carrillo) from his last visit, which to be honest saw him making enemies of the wrong sort of people? Taking his car and as a companion redundant DJ Doctor Rock (James Belushi), he heads south of the border...

Salvador was a kind of biopic of journalist Rick Boyle, who fed his dangerous experiences into the script he wrote with the director Oliver Stone. Obviously some artistic licence was employed as things did not happen precisely as depicted here, but the gist of it, the message the newly-left wing Stone wished to convey with the zeal of the convert, was true enough. Which was that the United States had been interfering with Central American politics thanks to their anti-Communist paranoia - not wanting another Cuba down South, they empowered some of the most violent and corrupt fascistic governments there to ensure that no more Fidel Castro clones were spawned. Not that the Communists were saints, and Stone was well aware of that.

Nevertheless, in the mid eighties, at the height of Reaganism, all people saw were the criticisms of America, and audiences stayed away in droves, leading Stone, who was trying to establish himself as a director rather than a screenwriter for hire by this point, to think he'd blown his big chance. Then along came a certain film called Platoon, and that career never looked back (well, apart from Alexander, maybe), but that hit, captivating the navel gazing of the States and their guilt over the Vietnam War, wasn't a patch on Salvador when it came to raw, vital and searing filmmaking. It may have been a more chaotic work, and harder to get a handle on than the simple "War is bad" lessons of its successor, but it remained in many minds Stone's finest achievement.

Though it took a hard won path to that esteem, in spite of the remarkable Woods performance garnering an Oscar nomination, leaving it often forgotten in the wake of its creator's more high profile works. Woods poured his heart and soul into the Boyle character, so that we can see he's not entirely trustworthy, is willing to exploit those around him for his own gain, financial and otherwise, but his essential moral code means he is as well qualified to ask the pertinent questions of the utterly unscrupulous as anybody, and indeed in scene after scene we watch him recklessly do just that, which leads to violence against him and those he should be looking out for. But that moral sense only indicates to us that Boyle has the best interests of the people of El Salvador at heart.

He's not the only one, as the aid workers and the citizens brave enough to stand up for human rights are offered praise and respect too, but by doing so they put themselves in a very difficult position, one which sees many meet horrendous fates. Only Boyle manages to survive time and again as he sees people he knows and likes, even loves, fall prey to the depraved and venal who claim to be caring for those unfortunates stuck in the middle, yet are only out to spread terror and line their pockets as long as they can stay in control. Not that the Communists come out of this any more noble than the U.S. backed government, as in a crucial late scene we see they can be just as capable of war atrocities as the authorities which have driven them to attempt revolution. It is, at the end, Boyle's story we have to take on board, but this was no "those poor Americans - oh, were there others involved?" self-centred lament, as the anguish of Stone's deeply felt horror at the war proved both his strength, and the opportunity for conscience-raising excellence. Music by Georges Delerue.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2281 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Oliver Stone  (1946 - )

Didactic, aggressive and in-your-face American writer-director who, after directing a couple of horrors (Seizure and The Hand) and writing Midnight Express and Scarface, settled into his own brand of political state-of-the-nation films like Salvador, the Oscar-winning Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, JFK, Natural Born Killers and Nixon. Slightly out of character were The Doors and U-Turn: respectively, a celebration of the late sixties and a sweaty thriller. In 2004 he experienced his biggest flop with Alexander, a historical epic, but followed it with the reverent World Trade Center and a biopic of then just-leaving President George W. Bush. A belated sequel to Wall Street and gangster movie Savages were next. Say what you like, he has made his mark and loads of people have an opinion on him.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: