(out of 5)

Exceptional, invigorating film by Oliver Stone that is his best accomplishment after Platoon (both of which came out the same year).  is superb as Richard Boyle, a photojournalist who can’t keep body and soul together in New York and so decides to head down to El Salvador with his buddy () and cover the civil war there. What he discovers during his rather unorthodox investigations is a corrupt social situation that is being fueled by the Reagan administration’s complicit involvement. Risking his own life on numerous occasions, Woods does everything possible to get his girlfriend () and her son out of the country and to safety in the U.S., but getting the documents for their departure is no end of trouble for all of them.  is also marvelous as a kindly photojournalist who helps Boyle out and risks his neck more than once. This film’s convincing atmosphere is terrifying, and while there will be audience members who contest its validity (some of whom will probably be right), it’s still the most believable outrageousness (after Platoon) that Stone has ever created.

Estudios Churubusco Azteca S.A., Hemdale

United Kingdom/USA, 1986

Directed by

Screenplay by Oliver Stone,

Cinematography by

Produced by , Oliver Stone

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Leading Role (James Woods as “Richard Boyle”)
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) (Oliver Stone, Richard Boyle)


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