The Gist: An American photojournalist down on his luck drives to El Salvador with a colleague to document the tumultuous years of infighting between the right-wing government and the leftist guerrilla, in hopes of selling his pictures and information. The situation, however, is very volatile, and thousands of people end up part of the infamous desaparecidos.
Oliver Stone's Salvador is based on the real story of American photojournalist Richard Boyle, who risked his life to tell a story of desperation, brutality, mass murder, and suffering. Obviously, he was also trying to make a buck.
The movie is well made and the reality of a brutal civil war, in which regular civilians are caught in the line of fire, is masterfully displayed.
Why the the middling grade? I obviously don't know the real Richard Boyle, but James Woods' characterization, while effective, felt too theatrical and off-putting. Perhaps the real guy is really that annoying and obnoxious, but it just rubbed me the wrong way the whole time, to the point that I couldn't even root for him by the end.
James Belushi isn't that much more sympathetic either.
The Bottom Line: Salvador is a movie that tells an important story documentary-style, so it certainly deserves a recommendation, just be aware that Woods might be somewhat off-putting.