Sunday, July 8, 2012


Movie Name: Savages
Year of Release: 2012
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta, Emile Hirsch, Demian Bichir,  Joel David Moore, Sandra Echeverria
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

Director Oliver Stone is back, following his sequel to his own successful film "Wall Street". "Savages" is a return to a style the director knows quite well, having directed the fantastic "Natural Born Killers" and the less seen, but equally interesting, "U-Turn". "Savages" follows the story of Chon and Ben, best friends who have a small business in California selling drugs. Their business draws attention from a big drug cartel based out of Mexico, which is run by ruthless Elena, who wants to take over their little operation. In order to impose her orders, Elena has Ophelia, the girlfriend of both Chon and Ben, kidnapped. What follows is Chon and Ben's attempts to get Ophelia back and get out of the business.
"Savages" is an adaptation of Don Winslow's novel. The film is graphic in the depiction that it makes of violence, but at it's core, tries to showcase the bond between the three main characters (and their need to save each other). That is precisely where the problem with the film lies: none of the actors who embody the central characters transmit a sense of credibility to the whole story. The central characters are suppose to be a small family unit, one where the bond is strong and where the chemistry is palpable, however, the more engaging characters end up being the supporting ones, embodied by Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro. The story itself is vividly depicted by Oliver Stone, who again saturates the screen with an energy seen in his previous films, however the poor casting for the central leads ends up making the film feel impoverished, particularly with the numb Blake Lively, who simply can't act. Ophelia is suppose to be an energetic and beautiful California girl, but in the hands of Blake Lively, she becomes a comatose and flat character, something that taints the film itself. An interesting film that deserved better casting.