In 1980, Richard Boyle, an American journalist on the skids, drove down to Salvador, believing the place would provide both a story and all those things he remembered so fondly from the late 1960s - booze, drugs, sexual freedom. What he found was civil war, with his own government supporting the right wing incumbents and their death squads. Boyle, as portrayed by the excellent Woods, is naïve, manic, and dangerous. He suffers terror and humiliation, risks death, and re-discovers his professional integrity. Stone's film (co-written by Boyle with the director) is about North American ignorance, Central American tragedy, and how the two are related. The polemic may seem obvious and at times laboured, but the action sequences are brilliant, and the film does achieve a brutal, often very moving, power.