- Director: Oliver Stone
- Genre: Crime, Drama
- Cert: 15
- Details: US 131 mins
Sick Boy's unifying theory of life - 'First you have it, then you lose it and it's gone forever. All walks of life.' - applies to Oliver Stone too. If you were in any doubt about Oliver Stone lacking the punch he once had, then let Savages put the matter to rest. This isn't an 'Oliver Stone movie'; it could have been made by anyone.
Blake Lively's voiceover sets the scene. She’s quick to stress that although she's telling us the story, it doesn't mean she survived. She's a surfer girl in love with cold Iraq Vet Kitsch and sensitive sort Taylor-Johnson who head up a cannabis-growing business based in Laguna Beach. Said business soon draws the attention of Salma Hayek's ruthless Mexican cartel; she needs the boys' contacts to make inroads across the border. However, when they tell the Mexicans they are shutting down operations, the cartel kidnap Lively and force the boys into a three-year drug contract. Of course Kitsch and Taylor-Johnson don't take this lying down, and with the help of John Travolta's DEA agent, they set about destroying the cartel..
Like Carlos and Che before it, Savages would have been best served as a mini-series. The ups and downs, peaks and troughs that we expect from a well-structured movie are out of place. It just ambles along, popping up with an emotionally distant action or torture scene once in a while, before it reaches its cop out ending. Savages is pointless; compare what this has to say about the drug business to his script for Scarface.
The casting is all wrong. Not in a million years is Taylor Kitsch a mean-spirited psychotic Iraq War veteran and while Taylor-Johnson's California college-boy-turned-beach-bum fares a little better, there’s just no personality coming from the characters. The menage a trois is creepy and the third point on the love triangle, Lively, is lumbered with an uninspired narration that she duly delivers without passion or believability. The delivery might be all her fault but she's hardly blessed with some of these lines. Through the many drafts it took to bring this to the big screen, writers Stone, Don Winslow (whose novel this is adapted from) and Shane Salerno (AVPR) all thought the following sentence was a good one: 'I would have orgasms, (he) would have wargasms.' How can you say that line without sounding ridiculous?
With Hayek in soap opera territory and an over the top Travolta flashing that manic gri,n it's left to Del Toro to keep Savages' heart beating. Although difficult to understand at times, the threat of his psychotic henchman keeps things ticking over. However, giving a crap about how it all turns out for him, or anyone else, is hard work.
If he hadn't lost it after Alexander - maybe he was surprised at the pummelling it received – he certainly has now. The once great Stone is a shadow of his former self. Sorry, Oliver, but it certainly is a phenomenon in all walks of life.
Review by Gavin Burke | 14:50 | Friday 21st September 2012 | Movie Review
How can this website give "Shadow Dancer" of which Aiden Gillen gives the best performance, who is not suited to any rolls he has been casted in the last year, and say Taylor Kitsch plays this role badly? The film has flaws but as far as entertainment goes it is far greater than Shadow Dancer, albeit different,the idiocy of the review can not be ignored. Savages is much better than this inconsiderate review lets on.Posted 21:10 | Thu 20th Sep 2012
I saw this film a couple of months ago in the USA and it still lingers as the best film I've seen all summer. A real return to form from O. Stone. Normally the reviews here are not far off but this most definitely is. I suggest reading Roger Ebert's review and then make up your own mind. It's very violent but very stylish and not a little Tarantino-esque. Enjoy!Posted 01:33 | Fri 21st Sep 2012
I enjoyed Savages, but it's a shame that Universal decided to cut the film here to get a lower cert. It's clearly a film for adults, not teenagers. Now we're faced with the prospect of 3 versions of the film - the uncut US version, the cut Irish/UK version and an unrated edition coming out in the US later this year on Blu-Ray. Talk about confusing...Posted 16:49 | Sat 22nd Sep 2012
2+ hours of my life ill never get back, horrendousPosted 12:44 | Mon 24th Sep 2012
Loved this movie!!Posted 10:41 | Tue 2nd Oct 2012
"The Beach" meets " point break" but not in a good way. made for teenagers but with the wrong cert. Entertaining at times but brain dead stuff. Agree with Gavin's reviewPosted 10:44 | Thu 4th Oct 2012
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