It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
"Savior" is a brutally honest war film that looks unblinkingly at how hate and prejudice can pose as patriotism. It stars Dennis Quaid as an American named Guy, whose wife and child are killed by a Muslim terrorist bomb in Paris. He walks into the nearest mosque, murders men at prayer and then disappears into the French Foreign Legion. Six years later, he turns up in Bosnia, as a mercenary fighting for the Serbs against the Bosnians.
"We fight for no country, no faith, no political cause," he is told on the day he's sworn into the legion. "We fight for honor." One would like to think that honor might involve country, faith or politics, but only the Legion deserves the loyalty of a legionnaire, and it's this kind of macho, death-intoxicated craziness that Guy encounters in Bosnia. The Bosnians and Serbs have religious differences, but the film argues that much of the blood-hate on both sides involves psychotic male societies in which women are chattel--to be raped if they're not yours, and killed if they're yours and have been raped.
Guy buys into this ethic in the early scenes of the movie, blaming all Muslims for his family's murder by a lunatic fringe. Later, he is forced to focus on individual people and finds it is not so easy to hate when you know someone. Empathy is the enemy of tribalism.
In Bosnia, he and his best friend Dominic (Stellan Skarsgard) kill for hire, and sometimes discuss what they do. Guy: "You've done nothing wrong here." Dominic: "It feels like I did." We see Guy use a sniperscope to take aim at an innocent boy looking for his goat. Guy kills him. A flashback shows how Guy's friend was killed by a girl concealing a grenade. An eye for an eye.