Director: Oliver stone
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Blake Lively
Oliver Stone directs this violent adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel of the same title.
Savages follows the lives of ex-army guy Chon (Kitsch) and Buddhist, soul-searching Ben (Johnson) as they deal with their expanding marijuana business and the abduction of their shared girlfriend (Lively) by Salma Hayek and her band of Mexican pushers. The film opens with a decapitation scene, some weed smoking and two Blake Lively sex scenes, and it doesn’t really stray from that format from there on out. Certain scenarios in the film are extremely far-fetched (almost as far-fetched as any guy sharing Blake Lively with his best friend), but with the chemistry between the three main protagonists being so convincing, many scenarios seem plausible. Stone has a way of creating a strong emotional audience response in many of the violent scenes, and reminds us of his directorial talent shown in his other successes (Platoon, JFK, etc.). This ability allows a stronger audience connection, but it is not enough to boost the film from ‘average’, as there are still many weird black-and-white shots, and a ridiculous double-ending. The casting is brilliant, with Benicio del Toro as the raping, weirdly moustachioed, murderer under Hayek’s control. John Travolta as the corrupt drug enforcement agent who dabbles with every dealer and grower in the film, and Salma Hayek as the drug baroness whose maternal instinct is her downfall.
Overall, it’s a fantastic adaptation but with some strange scenes and some awkward dialogue, it isn’t a must-see.