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SAVIOR

SYNOPSIS:
After losing his wife (Nastassja Kinski) and young son in a café bombing in Paris, intelligence operative Joshua (Dennis Quaid) takes instant revenge in a nearby Mosque - and then seeks anonymity in the Foreign Legion, fighting as a mercenary (under the new identity of Guy) alongside Dominic (Stellan Skarsgard) in war torn Serbia. The carnage and hate dehumanise him almost to the point of zero emotional response. After a prisoner exchange incident, Guy finds himself playing bodyguard to Vera (Natasa Ninkovic) a young Serb woman raped by a Muslim and now very pregnant. He cannot quite bring himself to abandon her, especially when she is kicked out of her own family home, and beaten by a fellow Serb, which induces the birth. Now, Guy becomes a potential saviour to the baby - if he can learn to feel anything for his fellow human beings, and if he can keep alive not only all three of them, but his own soul.

"Like so many anti-war stories, Savior trades on the revulsion we share in the cinema auditorium when faced with acts of barbarism - especially when it is perpetrated between friends, neighbours and even family members. And it is both timely and relevant that the Serbian war be brought home to us in the relative safety of the west, where understanding of the issues is at best vague, but where sympathy for the victims is genuine. In fact, Savior touches on a much neglected issue in that war: the culture that impels families to reject their raped daughters for having dishonoured the family. This has always seemed to me to be a greater crime of the heart than rape itself, being perpetrated by the girls' own family. The traumatised young woman is not only a victim of ethnically-driven hate-rape but also a victim of blind ignorance and primitive lore. It's a good example of why cultures should - as some have - need to evolve and embrace enlightened, humanistic values. But Savior misses the opportunity to open up this subject, although to the film's credit, it does avoid simplistic finger pointing. Everyone is equally shamed by the story, and all the symbolic representatives of the world - from participants on all sides, to outsiders of all kinds - are condemned. It's a tough, harrowing film, made very capably with some fine performances, but I found it to be too much a creation of the American film making machine. By no means a bad film, and certainly emotionally engaging (and draining) but it too often feels contrived. And the redemption story is a tad too predictable and signposted with too many big letters."
Andrew L. Urban

"This would have to be the most effective anti-war film ever made. Director, Peter Antonijevic has unapologetically shown us the horror of war. There are images in this film which will remain with us forever: a pregnant woman is kicked repeatedly, ordinary people are bludgeoned with sledgehammers. Some of this occurs within the barren broken down landscape that is war, some in a beautiful lakeside setting: war cannot destroy water. Yet none of it is Hollywood gloss war. None of it is overdone. It is the statement that the film's co-producer, Oliver Stone was probably trying to make with his own war films. Antonijevic has pulled no punches but has given us no good guys or bad guys either. It doesn't matter which side Dennis Quaid's mercenary finds himself on. All of humanity is reduced to its most base instincts in the presence of war, racial hatred, interminable tribalism. Actually that's not true. All men. The women in this film seem to be the only ones who escape the madness of obsessive hatred. It is through the women that Guy continually finds redemption. It is a masterful performance from Quaid, the opportunity of his career and he pulls it off magnificently. Absent is the cute grin which has been a signature of his previous work. In its place is a disillusioned human being for whom the sparks of feeling have all but died. But occasionally we see the embers. See the film for this performance. See it for its anti-war message, its engaging story. Be aware that it is heavy going. But see it."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

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SAVIOR (MA)
(US)

CAST: Dennis Quiad, Stellan Skarsgard, Natasa Ninkovic, Nastassja Kinski, Sergej Trifunovic, Ljiljana Blagojevic, Miodrag Krstovic, Nebojsa Glogovac

DIRECTOR: Peter Antonijevic

PRODUCERS: Oliver Stone, Janet Yang

SCRIPT: Robert Orr

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ian Wilson

EDITOR: Ian Crafford, Gabriella Cristiani

MUSIC: David Robbins

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Vladislav Lasic

RUNNING TIME: 103- minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Globe

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 2, 1999 (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)







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