Salvador is Oliver's Stone's best movie. This was a low budget movie and the last one Stone made before Platoon. This is a guerilla movie in the true sense of the work. A movie made about a guerilla revolt in El Salvador and one American journalist's story during that revolution; and made on in a guerilla style with a lot of hand-helded shots and local Mexican atmosphere and actors. James Wood and Jim Belushi are excellent. Except for the politics and an acid trip scene, this film is very gritty and real. Now it does have a frat boy road trip aspect, but that only adds a comic <more>
touch that is almost endearing at times. Set against the brutality of the civil war of El Salvador, the comedy helps keep the movie from being overly harsh and pedantic, which Mr. Stone tends to want to lean towards in portraying the politics of the time and place. Thankfully Mr. Stone is more interesting in entertaining then preaching in this movie, and with the excellent acting accomplishes this goal.
and to think that after September 11, James Woods changed his views completely... (by lee_eisenberg)
In one of the many indictments of US-foreign policy, we get hit right where it hurts. Richard Boyle James Woods is a journalist with little direction in life in 1980. So, he and his friend Doctor Rock Jim Belushi drive down to El Salvador. But they never could have gotten prepared for what they were about to see there. As leftist rebels are battling the US-backed military junta, the death squads move across the country slaughtering civilians. To crown it all, Boyle even witnesses the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, a champion of the country's poor, at the hands of Roberto <more>
D'Aubuisson's thugs. It seems that the only person whom Richard can trust is peasant Maria Elpidia Carrillo ."Salvador" obviously brings up the issue of journalism, especially in time of war. I read that there was some controversy about the portrayal of Boyle - some people claim that the movie lionizes him too much - but such arguments miss the movie's point. It was looking at the most vicious form of US-foreign policy, which continues in places like Colombia. Obviously, Oliver Stone likes to make politically charged movies, but this may be his best, alongside "JFK".A strange irony to the movie is James Woods himself. His role in this movie suggests that he long held left-wing political views. Then, he became a September 12th Republican: a leftist who shifted to the right after September 11, 2001. Does he even still acknowledge this movie, or what it portrays? For more information about the US-backed regimes in El Salvador and the rest of Latin America, you can read three books: "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn, "What Uncle Sam Really Wants" by Noam Chomsky, and "The CIA's Greatest Hits" by Mark Zepezauer.
Here's an early Stone, like 'Wall Street' he uses most of his crew from 'Platoon', though Richardson is the only one to consistently work with him.This is your only spoiler warning...Stone's problem is that he is too bound to his excesses, much like Spielberg is bound to sentimentality. If one removes the profanity, dull sex, and adolescent fascination with violence, his films are pretty simple. Perhaps, when seen through this filter, only 'JFK', 'Nixon', and this resonate the strongest.Why this? There is an interesting piece of self-reference here with <more>
Woods playing Stone. Stone was a drug-using, mildly successful writer in Hollywood and he parallels this with Woods' Boyle. Woods is one of the most daring actors around and it's no surprise the Academy gave him a nom.The bigger irony is that both men are in search of the "perfect shot" that will make them big. Both men fail. Woods winds up publishing someone else's work and Stone made 'Platoon'.Once you get past his shallow preaching, Stone has some really interesting points. I also have more respect for him than such directors as Spielberg and DePalma because Stone takes the time to put commentaries on his DVDs. With this much memory-inducing information at our disposal, he will be remembered for a while.Final Analysis Midrange Material
One of Oliver Stone's two masterpieces (by fertilecelluloid)
The cinematic equivalent of being busted in the chops over and over again until you can only fall, this, along with his TALK RADIO, is Oliver Stone's masterpiece.It is one of the most driven dramas I have ever witnessed, a work propelled by anger, a burning sense of justice and fiery humanism. It depicts a corrupt, murdering regime with savage focus and makes no dramatic concessions to the incendiary material.Financed slightly outside the Hollywood system, it boasts a dozen extraordinary performances and a brand of camera-work by Stone regular Robert Richardson that expertly marries <more>
documentary-style coverage to classic composition.SALVADOR has so much to say, but it concludes having not said it all because it hasn't the time.It's quite incredible.
1:35:10, Boyle and Cassady, brave, daring, stupid, cross no-man's-land in the middle of a firefight. When they get behind government lines unperforated! , an officer waves a pistol at them. Boyle identifies himself as an American journalist, Cassady pulls up a Leica and takes two rapid shots of the officer, and we hear the motor whine as it advances the film.Oops... that camera as it's shown all through the film is a standard thumb-advance model... no motor drive. There were a couple of bottom mounted "rapid advance" accessories available for the camera, but they're <more>
very noticeable, and it's clear that neither is used here. Personally I'd have used a different lens as well, but that's not really a "goof" per se....
Based around the real life experiences of journalist Richard Boyle, we are in 1980 and Boyle is not only in crisis torn El Salvador, he's also in it up to his neck.It sometimes gets forgotten just what a great director Oliver Stone can be, strip away his ability to ruffle feathers on a seemingly perennial basis, and you find some pieces of work that are stark and striking for all the right reasons. Salvador is one such film, sometimes criminally forgotten, it remains to this day a searing tale of tension amongst the troubles of a Latin American hell hole. Boyle is right in amongst the <more>
implosion of a civil war, death squads and guerrillas from each side pull him from pillar to post as he tries to protect his Salvadorian girlfriend, while his friends and connections all are in peril purely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.Salvador triumphs mainly because Stone and his team have managed to capture all the building emotions of the main players, it's not just Boyle, it's the American government types, the press itself, and of course the crumbling Salvador people themselves, all things mold together in one big worrying pot boiler. James Woods plays Boyle and he is magnificent, managing to make an unlikeable character sympathetic, Woods with Stone prompting for sure clearly challenging himself to play out a career high. James Belushi also delivers his career best work, perfectly brusque and oblivious, his Dr Rock is the perfect foil for Woods' emotive Boyle. Then there is plaudits for Elpidia Carillo as Maria, charged with being the love interest amongst this carnage, she layers it perfectly for a very memorable performance.Salvador bizarrely is at times a humorous picture, but the laughs are all of the uneasy kind, because ultimately Stone's attempt at getting into the nitty-gritty of troubled El Salvador, is a harsh, and at times, a humbling experience. 9/10
"You'll love it here, Doc. You can drive drunk. You can get anybody killed for fifty bucks." - Rick Boyle (by MichaelMargetis)
'Salvador' is the extremely controversial filmmaker, Oliver Stone's, first film, and is it any surprise it has to do with politics? Yes, pretty much all of Mr. Stone's films have a strong political message in them for example: JFK, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, Natural Born Killers, Heaven & Earth, Wall Street, etc. His first major film not counting his dreadfully mediocre low-budget debut horror film 'The Hand , 'Salvador' explores and follows the conflict of military dictatorship and genocide taking place in El Salvador in the year 1980. Although <more>
it's a very in-your-face picture and has to do with debatable political hardships, 'Salvador' is a great, powerful and heart wrenching picture that will stay with you a long time after you view it. Even though 'Salvador' is one of Oliver Stone's least famous flicks, it ranks up there with one of his best films.The movie chronicles the life of real-life photojournalist Rick Boyle played by James Woods . Boyle's life is falling apart all around him and he's almost completely broke, so he decides to go to El Salvador, to kick it with his best friend, Doctor Rock played by SNL alumni James Belushi . Boyle and Doc Rock figure El Salvador will be the perfect vacation place, but what they don't realize is that the country going through one of the most violent acts of genocide in world history will effect them. In El Salvador, Boyle meets up with his girlfriend, a native, Maria Elphidia Carillo , an old friend whose a reporter from Newsday, John Cassady Carnivale's John Savage , and Cathy Moore, a Catholic nun who works as a lay worker Cynthia Gibb . While relaxing in the so-called paradise, Boyle begins to realize the atrocities around him and makes a hard decision to try to make a difference, severely risking his life and the lives of the people around him.'Salvador' isn't a masterpiece, but it's a film of such ferocious power and intensity that it's impossible not to notice. The real life Rick Boyle and Oliver Stone round out a scorching screenplay, and Stone does an awesome job behind the camera. James Woods is magnificent as Boyle, and deserved his Oscar nomination. John Belushi not only provides us with a usual comedic performance, but puts in a lot of dramatic aspects to his character showing that Belushi has more depth than most people realize as an actor. John Savage, post-Deer Hunter, is a pleasure to watch as always, and Independent Spirit Award Nominee Elphidia Carillo, turns in a fine performance as Boyle's love interest. The film also features Michael Murphy as the U.S. ambassador in El Salvador. When it all is over, 'Salvador' proves to be a great film, but not an excellent one. The film has minor flaws like dragging a little, and sometimes not getting down to the point. It's Stone's first film second if you count that crap, 'The Hand , and he does a damn fine job with it. If you haven't already, and don't mind a powerhouse of a film, go to your local videostore and rent 'Salvador'. Trust me, you'll like it. Grade: B+MADE MY TOP 300 LIST AT #238
Fear and Loathing in El Salvador (by ill_behavior)
With a touch of the Hunter Thompsons, Oliver Stone created a quality film about reporter Richard Boyle and his troubles in El Salvador during a civil war that breaks out around him.Compared to other Stone films, I think this is his best, he has managed to take the true story of Boyle and craft it into a film in which you actually care about the on-screen characters, something he lost later on.The performances are classic; James Woods, he was clearly on edge and it shows, he produces one of his finest to date. Doc would really have been only a fringe character if it wasn't for the fact he <more>
was played by James Belushie in fine form, he fits into the role of the degenerate with ease, he begins as somewhat uptight, but slowly dissolves into the seedy culture of Salvador in contrast to Boyle being ostracised by everyone he deals with.As with most Stone biopics, there is an element of "you weren't there man!" anger as he unleashed another tirade against the US government and military through this film. You can take that as you like, what I found most fascinating about this film is the similarity to Fear and Loathing, right down to the battered red car they make most of the journey in. I found it fascinating that Boyle could live the kind of story that Thompson made his name creating, the two would make a cracking team, should they not die getting the story, just make it up.If you're undecided on Olly Stone, but haven't seen this film, give it a try before you decide whether he is an overrated paranoid madman or an impassioned filmmaker with a message in there somewhere if you can get past all the shouting.
One Of Oliver Stone's Best Films To Re-Discover (by gogoschka-1)
Compelling civil war drama by Oliver Stone with a great James Woods as well as a great Jim Belushi . Stone's best films have always been his highly political ones, and this is no exception. Brutal, realistic portrayal of the conflict in El Salvador and America's implications. This is one to re-discover by film fans as it seems to have fallen a bit into obscurity over the years. Highly recommended: 8 stars out of 10.In case you're interested in more underrated masterpieces, here's some of my favorites:imdb.com/list/ls070242495