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  • Salvador
    • Salvador
    • Runtime:122 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-24 16:28:30
    • Director: Oliver Stone
    • Genres: Biography, Drama, Thriller, War
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Salvador
Auhtor:

   

After Oliver Stone's success with 'Platoon' came a belated
re-evaluation of his previous film, which when first released was more
or less dismissed as liberal Left Wing propaganda. But now that Stone
has helped placate our collective guilt over the war in Vietnam it
seems he can do no wrong, an unfortunate twist of logic since the
earlier film may in fact be better than anything he's done since, and
is certainly less reverent, less pretentious, and filled with livelier,
more natural characters than most of his subsequent features. It
doesn't even pretend to be good journalism. From the gaudy,
strobe-light opening credits Stone is in (for him) classic form,
presenting a wildly overstated pop-fiction account of Third-World
turmoil, as seen through the slightly wired perspective of pill-popping
ex-photo correspondent and gonzo sleaze-ball Richard Boyle, played by
James Woods in a no-holds-barred performance. Subtlety never has been
Oliver Stone's strongest asset, but his sensational approach to the
subject (particularly in the hyper-dramatic music score, and during the
more violent action sequences) can at least be enjoyed as a guilty
pleasure.

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As a Salvadoran myself I have to say it is hard not to be hard with
this movie. I get it. It's Hollywood and the actual facts are going to
be embellished to attract the audience to a "one wild ride" but it
feels so odd to see this in a movie made by a "conscious" Oliver Stone.

The acting is bad and I can't believe how anyone will nominate the
screenplay as a good one. Why must the character know everyone of the
famous martyrs here? (and worst of all, knowing them in a very casual
way) Was that the only way for people in the U.S. to feel disgusted by
all the things going on here with their support? I don't like the
cartoonish characters and the use of only Mexican locations and Mexican
actors (as they also did in "Innocent voices").

The worst part is to discover Jim Belushi in a movie with the
Salvadoran civil war as background

This movie hasn't aged well.

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This is considered to be Oliver Stone's best film but I disagree ,
PLATOON is the best film helmed by Stone but SALVADOR is probably a
fair way behind it . Unlike PLATOON which was a heartfelt movie
mirroring the director's own experiences in Vietnam it's slightly
difficult to connect with the characters . They're cynical and
hedonistic to start with but improve as people as the film continues
making the movie a slightly too obvious redemption plot , not helped
with some Catholic imagery

James Woods plays journalist Richard Boyle . Perfect casting by Stone
which got Woods his first and last Oscar nomination for Best Actor .
Woods has always been superb at playing intense , manic dangerous
characters and excels at playing someone who suffers from a borderline
narcissistic personality disorder who continually tells the world that
whilst Sydney Schanberg was picking up his Purlitzer Prize ( See THE
KILLING FIELDS ) he was the last journalist out of Cambodia . It's also
interesting that Boyle's main motive for going to El Salvador is that
it costs a mere $50 a month to live there whilst whores and drugs are
easy to come by . Of course all this changes when Boyle gets caught up
in events and becomes a crusader against human rights abuses by the
right wing government

The one main problem can be accused off from a moral viewpoint is one
of moral equivalence . Alex Cox criticised the film where Boyle sees
left wing guerrillas executing captured troops and cries that one side
is as bad as the other according to Cox . I can't recall Boyle saying
that but my own problem with moral equivalence is at the start of the
film where Boyle self righteously proclaims he broke a story about "
IRA suspects getting tortured by the Brits in Belfast " Is there any
connection between the Irish troubles and what goes on in central
America ? To be fair to Stone he does point out the American
establishment's fear of El Salvador coming under the Soviet sphere of
influence . And if Stone didn't have a deserved or otherwise reputation
as a Hollywood liberal would people nitpick the film so much ?

One thing about Stone's direction is how restrained it is in relation
to his later work . There's a directorial technique called "
Intensified continuity " which in laymans terms is MTV style film
making . Stone took this to new heights ( Or possibly depths depending
on your view ) with JFK and NATURAL BORN KILLERS . Here however the
camera work is disciplined with no OTT flourish and Stone thankfully
lets the performances , plotting and dialogue carry the film which
whilst an effective political drama doesn't carry the emotional wallop
of PLATOON

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