A former drug addict, whose girlfriend died because of a heroin overdose, decides to take revenge on the cartel responsible for the drug supply.
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Robert De Niro and in his almost eighty remains a magnet, attracting new projects. He is a truly legendary actor, the winner of two Oscars and many other awards and nominations. Obviously, due to his age, the brightest and most active part of his career is behind him. But the charisma and skill have not gone anywhere, and Robert is still good and expressive in the frame, as far as he allows a particular scenario and the drawing of the image. It is worth admitting that in his later years De Niro has become much less choosy in the choice of roles, but along with the passable tapes of the late period, the good news is always “Irishman” and “Joker”, in which Robert works in all the power of facial talent.
The “Savage Salvation” in question is certainly a class below the aforementioned Scorsese and Phillips films. Moreover, in the director’s chair is Randall Emmett, far better known as the dodgy producer responsible for most of Bruce Willis’ recent work, and generally specializing in streaming action films and thrillers with ex-superstars like Mel Gibson and John Travolta. Besides De Niro, “Rage…” also features another standout performer, John Malkovich. Both have supporting roles, but still not as “guest” in duration as the “late” Willis, who often spent one/three days on the set. And overall, “Savage Salvation” is much more of a drama than a hurricane action film, as the trailer presents it.
According to the trailer, it seems that the tragedy, provoking violence, fit into a maximum of 10-15 minutes of screen time. The main character, played by Jack Huston, from the heroin girl dies, and he will all subsequent timing is the revenge of the local drug dealers, along the way – who is at the head of “traffic”. In fact, the active showdown doesn’t begin until the fiftieth minute of the hour and a half movie, and before that we watch a light, conventional version of Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream” in which the lovers struggle with addiction with varying success, wishing to be together and “clean” for the rest of their lives. The hard personal battle with “dope” is paired with a demonstration of the general depression of a provincial town where the inhabitants, for the most part, are divided into “junkies”, their unhappy wives and children, drug criminals and police officers who cannot cope with the “hotbed of death”. De Niro’s character is an elderly sheriff who buried his “addicted” son and is damn tired of life, but does his job in the name of his memory. Unfortunately, Robert’s character is written extremely haphazardly, and De Niro, as best he can, makes it lively and three-dimensional, at the expense of his acting skills. The sheriff gets sad, expresses his wise thoughts, investigates something sluggishly, but at the critical moment gets into a shootout with the bandits. And none of this looks pathetic. In “Rage…” De Niro is as good as a great actor can be who is well over seventy.
John Malkovich is a different situation. For most of the movie, you think he’s a purely on-duty character, another clever old man guiding the young, important to the overall atmosphere of the picture, but not affecting its plot twists. But in fact, there’s a twist to his importance that can be unraveled as you watch, but it’s not even his essence that matters here, it’s the acting in this climactic scene. Malkovich, since about the 2000s, has also been in everything, including, thank goodness, first-rate films, and often makes the film better simply by his participation. In “Wrath…” John has a “percussive” episode, which, among other things, is worth watching this movie for.
As for the main actor of the project Jack Huston, he is just in his place. The role is not easy, where his character has time to be a war veteran, an inveterate drug addict, a former addict, a passionate lover, a grief-stricken and off the chain killer, albeit in the name of “good” purposes. Houston looks organic, and one can feel that she tries very hard. And the dramatic scenes with him are much stronger than the fighting ones. In the latter, director Randall Emmett does not particularly care about verisimilitude, only the boundless rage with which Huston’s character tortures and kills drug dealers, while managing not to get even lightly wounded is emotionally important here. But overall, the director manages to keep a balance between thrash and serious cinema, giving ample time to social and philosophical issues, albeit presented in an extremely straightforward way, without a second bottom with deep meaning.
Collectively, Savage Salvation is a passable but solid film, tough in meaning and visuals, with naturalistic scenes of drug addicts and brutal murders. But at the same time it is a melancholic story of unfulfilled happiness that raises questions – is there a God and how else to come to Him in this world? And it’s not a pompous characterization of “Wrath…” of average lousiness, the picture is really about that as well, with a questionable realization, but that’s how it turns out. The picture is worth seeing for devoted fans of De Niro and Malkovich, for fans of anti-drug dramas and for fans of brutal crime thrillers, but with a moderate amount of action.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (69.9 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, German.