Salvador ★★★★

I love Oliver Stone. I love his wild ambition. I love his bad films. I really love his great films. He may not be the filmmaker he was, but then not many are the filmmaker he was. His run from the mid-80s, when he really began, to the late-90s, when his quality became intermittent, is one of the great directorial runs from an American filmmaker. He is the Gore Vidal of cinema. America's biographer. His unashamedly angry liberal, conspiratorial films are richly intelligent and wildly ambitious. He is the man who should be adapting James Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy for the screen.

Salvador may not be Stone's debut. But it is his first proper Oliver Stone and it is brilliant.

Propelled by the manic energy of James Woods, capturing the manic energy of Stone's own direction and writing, Salvador tells the story of an American journalist covering the Salvadoran civil war. It is reminiscent of a Graham Greene style story, where the guilt has been kept, but grit and grime has been ramped up. Photographing dead bodies, mixed with party scenes. It feels drug-fuelled. Hunter S Thompson without the affectation.

Salvador is an incredible distillation of Oliver Stone's themes and concerns. It is blurt of indignation, against war, against America, against humanity. It is also a character study and like every Oliver Stone film, it feels like a character study of a facet of himself.

Salvador is a kinetic film, and despite its heavy politics, it moves with a lot pace. It still feels a vital film, even 30 years later.

I may go on a short Oliver Stone binge, as it has been a while since I watched many of his films. Next up he made - Platoon, Talk Radio, Wall Street, Born on the Fouth of July, The Doors, JFK, Heaven & Earth and Nixon. I may watch them all.

Wilson liked these reviews