It is hard not to admire director Oliver Stone’s intense and thought-provoking Salvador (1986) – for many his best film – and the Oscar-nominated acting performance of James Woods playing real life photo-journalist Richard Boyle as a nervy, sleazy, cynic who goes back to Salvador to capture the pain and suffering of the civil war there, and make some money from the pictures, and comes out with his sweetheart, and his long-buried soul.
Salvador does not shrink from depicting the appalling way the ruling military there enjoyed oppressing and murdering the peasant community and anyone else who opposed them, including innocent children, and women they raped first. And all this with the knowledge and support of a mis-guided America. Woods character however, and Doc, his disc-jockey companion well-played by John Belushi, just manage to stay alive, mostly on the strength of Boyle’s former contacts there, making for tense and thrilling entertainment despite the deeply depressing and harrowing subject matter. But don’t look for a happy ending.
Salvador was released by Eureka Entertainment on September 17 in a special Dual Format (Blu-ray and DVD) edition as part of their Masters of Cinema Series. The pack includes audio commentaries and interviews with Oliver Stone, and a 62-minute documentary about the making of Salvador, Into The Valley of Death.