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USA 1985
Directed by
Oliver Stone
123 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


James Woods' stand-out performance as a journalist in strife-torn El Salvador in the early 80s is the principal virtue of this commendably committed film, co-scripted by Stone and Richard Boyle, based on the latter's own experiences. It was Stone’s first major film and typified a style and arena of interest that characterized the best of the director’s work to come.

Woods, in what remains the best-known performance of his career, plays dissipated veteran photojournalist Richard Boyle, who along with Jim Belushi as an out-of-work disc jockey, head to El Salvador in order to snaffle a headline-grabbing story.  What they find there, including for Boyle the love of a good woman (Elpedia Carrillo), turns their cynicism around. Although Stone draws attention to the shameful CIA support of vicious right-wing forces Salvador is the best Hunter S. Thompson style mash-up yet to grace the big screen.




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