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|April 21, 2001||
Savior is about hope
It's a black dot on the map for most.
For some, it's a way of life. And death.
Savior unflinchingly captures the grim realities of the Bosnian war and puts a human face on the tragedy.
Robert Orr, who spent two years, starting 1993, in Bosnia, as a photographer's assistant and relief worker, writes a dramatic assertion of humanism in the face of unspeakable horror in Savior.
Inspired in part by an actual incident, the film is directed by Serbian emigrant Predag Antonijevic and filmed in the Republic of Montenegro.
The movie opens in Paris, 1987.
Joshua (Dennis Quaid) loses his wife (Nastassja Kinski, in a miniscule role) and child in a terrorist bombing. His blinding need for revenge leads him to commit a crime that forces him to go into hiding.
After joining the Foreign Legion, he assumes a new identity and takes on a new life as a hired gun for the Bosnian Serbs.
Flash forward to Bosnia 1993.
Fighting with the Serbs against the Croats and the Muslims, an emotionally numb Joshua continues to vent his anger at the world. Trained to kill, he ruthlessly knocks down civilians and soldiers alike.
He is finally shaken out of his almost lifeless state when his partner - a Serbian soldier (Sergej Trifunovic) - brutally attacks a pregnant Serb, Vera (newcomer Natasa Ninkovic). Joshua finds redemption in the hell of rural Bosnia as he protects Vera and her newborn infant.
One wonders who the real 'savior' is. Is it Joshua? After all, he is protecting Vera and her child.
But then again, aren't Vera and her baby saving Joshua from eternal damnation by rekindling the goodness in him?
Throughout the film various characters play 'savior' at different times and situations.
Quaid's bare, emotionally raw performance lends a remarkable austerity to his character. While his gruff charisma adds dignity.
The striking Yugoslavian-born actress Natasa Ninkovic makes an impressive debut as the young mother Vera. Young Serbian actor Trifunovic is convincingly evil as Joshua's loudmouthed and detestable partner.
Nastassja Kinski, who plays Joshua's wife, is gone with the blink of an eye. Stellan Skarsgard's role as Joshua's soldier comrade is equally brief and unmemorable.
Much of Savior's power stems from director Antonijevic's carefully calculated use of disquieting acts of brutality.
Although shockingly despairing, Savior is about hope.
The film has the stench of death. Yet, it also offers a new lease of life.
For reconciling these contradictions and much more, Savior is worth a viewing.
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