If you were asked to name a film that tells the story of a professional mercenary saving a baby, The Mandalorian might bubble up out of the zeitgeist. Well, forget that harmless fluff; the film presented for your consideration is the forgotten Saviour (1998), starring Dennis Quaid. Put simply, this is one of the most harrowing films ever made. It’s not one you will want to watch twice.
Joshua (Dennis Quaid) massacres many men in a mosque, after his wife and child are murdered by Islamic terrorists. Cut to several years later, he is an anonymous sniper on the Serbian side during the Yugoslav war. He is shooting children when we meet him again.
After a prisoner exchange, Joshua ends up protecting the heavily pregnant Vera (Narasa Ninkovic) who is clearly the victim of rape by hostile forces. After she is heavily beaten, she goes into labour and births a girl.
After the mother is brutally beaten to death by a local warlord, Joshua manages to suffocate the child whilst trying to keep it quiet. He manages to revive it and is then the child’s protector. Both baby and saviour survive long enough for Joshua to take it to a refugee station where he aims to give it up for adoption.
This is not an easy film to watch but it is a recommended one, if you can track it down. One viewing was enough to cement it in the memory.
Saviour Is without doubt Quaid’s finest performance. If you have only seen him in the minor roles he gets most often, this is an eye-opener. Clearly, the man’s talent has never been given full expression.
As a film about loss, revenge and redemption and the horrors of conflict, Saviour is without peer. 90s trash like Saving Private Ryan were just exercises in shock, gore and cod-philosophy. In comparison, Saviour just leaves you raw. Powerful filmmaking at it’s finest.