SAVIOR

USA, 1998, 103 minutes


director.gif (905 bytes)Peter Antonijevic

CAST

Dennis Quaid - Josh/Guy
Stellan SkarsgŚrd - Peter
Nastassja Kinski - Maria
Natasa Ninkovic - Vera

 
 
Producer Oliver Stone & director Peter Antonijevic at LA premiere
on October 27, 1998


SYNOPSIS

After military specialist Joshua Rose loses his wife  and son in a terrorist bomb attack in Paris, he joins the Foreign Legion as a form of revenge against Muslims. He ends up an anonymous mercenary in Bosnia, fighting with the Serbs, but his resolve is tested by the cruelty and horror of ethnic cleansing. When Joshua encounters Vera, a young, pregnant Serbian woman due to be killed for her "dishonor," he finds a reason to fight.

button_box.gif (205 bytes) PRODUCTION NOTES:

Filmed in Montenegro near the Albanian border. The production shot mostly on-location in and around the picturesque city of Budva, one of the last remaining provinces of the former Yugoslavia. Although the war was long over when production began, the crew was still hindered by the lack of infrastructure in the region. In fact, each day, Antonijevic had to send his unprocessed film to Rome to have it developed and then waited days for it to return. The crew consisted almost entirely of Serbs, Croats and Muslims, most of whom had their own tragic and horrific experiences during the conflict. Antonijevic himself was briefly jailed by Yugoslav President Milosevic for his outspoken views during the war.

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button_box.gif (205 bytes) CRITIQUES:

"The power of 'Savior' comes from the almost offhand way in which sectarian violence and hatred are portrayed, and the conciseness of the storyís emotional arc... Production values are tops, from David Robbinsí folkloric score to Vladislav Lasicís realistic production design, which economically sketches the ravages of the conflict. Ian Wilsonís widescreen Panavision lensing creates a striking geographical frame in which the human horrors unfold."   ...Derek Elley, Variety

"Quaid's dead eyes tell you all you need to know - this is a brave, concentrated, resolutely unsympathetic performance unlike anything he's done before. The politics are even-handed, the violence brutal and unflinching. It's hard to recommend a movie that resembles nothing so much as a good kick in the head, but Serbian director Antonijevic gives it a raw, ugly force that feels not only authentic, but legitimate."  ...Time Out

"Quaid, always a reliable actor when given decent material, is superb here as a man slowly reconnecting with life."   ...Leah Rozen, People magazine

"The Serbian locations, their peaceful neighborly geographical contours seemingly so inappropriate a backdrop for vicious sectarian violence, give the film resonance."  ...Bridge Byrne, Box Office

"While paying audiences and Oscar voters didn't show up, Quaid earned some of his strongest reviews for the picture."   ...John Hartl, Seattle Times

'Robert Orr's biting dialogue and Mr. Quaid's stoic, dry-eyed performance do their best to undercut the more maudlin aspects of this redemptive fable. And despite its lurking sentimentality, the movie does its excruciating job. It conveys the nihilistic essence of war with the force of a kick in the gut."   ...Stephen Holden, NY Times

"Quaid gives one of his best performances to date in this strong antiwar film set during the savage conflict in the former Yugoslavia."  ...Susan King, LA Times

"It should come as no surprise that Oliver Stone is associated with Savior, a brutal bit of button-pushing: The civil war that destroyed Yugoslavia has more than a few parallels to Stone's favorite war, Vietnam, and Savior allows him to tackle similar issues of moral ambiguity.  ...Joshua Klein, A.V. Club

"Savior is not subtle. Directed by Peter Antonijevic,  a Serbian who is even-handed in his treatment of both sides, it was produced by Oliver Stone, and his longtime colleague Janet Yang from a screenplay they purchased from Robert Orr, who was inspired by a true story...  A movie like Savior is a reminder that human nature does not inevitably take us upward to higher moral ground, but sometimes drags us down to our dog-eat-dog beginnings. It is so easy to blame a group for the actions of a few of its members: to make them seem less than human, to justify our hatred for them. Of course movies that demonstrate that are not as much fun as the other kind, in which those bastards get what they have coming to them."  ...Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times