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Savior Review

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An American (Quaid) who's wife and child have been killed becomes a mercenary in the Bosnian war. He happens across a preganant Serb (Ninkovic) and rescues her, turning midwife and babysitter in the process. Thw two journey cross country to find a safe haven for the child.

★★★★★

The first American film shot in Serbia since the end of the troubles, Savior is a brave, worthy-but-ultimately-dull attempt to celebrate a shred of humanity within the ravages of war.

Yugoslav director Antonijevic, himself a political prisoner during the conflict, adds little insight to the nature of battle - there are no winners in war seems to be his world-shattering conclusion - serving up a curiously uninvolving drama out of obviously high intentions.

Losing his wife (a fleeting appearance from Kinski) and child in a Paris bombing, American military man Joshua Rose (Quaid) opts out and becomes a shell-shocked mercenary for the Serbs. Yet his long dormant kindness is piqued when he saves a pregnant Serb (Ninkovic) from execution and suddenly turns camouflaged midwife to deliver her sprog.

The unlikely troika subsequently travel cross country - cue Quaid's comedy baby care, the odd skirmish and obligatory mutual dependence malarkey - to find sanctuary for the new born cherub.

En route, Antonijevic creates a palpable sense of place, displays a neat eye for interesting detail - Quaid's use of a condom as a milk teat is inspired - and pulls no punches in vividly realising the brutality of the conflict: a scene in which a bus load of villagers are bludgeoned with a huge mallet is winceworthy ad nauseum.

Yet, in a film centred on one man's spiritual rebirth, the film is hamstrung by plotting that unfolds in the most schematic, contrived way possible. Moreover, Quaid is so one note in a role that demands the full gamut of emotion that any interest in his odyssey - both interior and exterior - is quickly dissipated. Miserable.

What wants desperately to be an uplifting journey through chaos and horror ends as an unrelenting foray into misery. A missed opportunity.

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