Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone adapts author Don Winslow's best-selling novel into this all-star ensemble crime drama about a pair of peaceful, Laguna Beach marijuana dealers who are targeted for extortion by the ruthless Mexican Baja cartel. Ben (Aaron Johnson) is a devout Buddhist and dedicated philanthropist, and his best friend Chon (Taylor Kitsch) is a former mercenary who trained as a Navy SEAL. They may not seem like major drug dealers, but together they make a comfortable living selling top-quality marijuana. And they share more than just a profitable business; their mutual girlfriend O (Blake Lively) is more than enough woman for the two ambitious young entrepreneurs to handle. But just as Ben and Chun are feeling like they're on top of the world, their blissful life of lawless hedonism threatens to yield dire repercussions. The Mexican Baja cartel wants a piece of the action, and their cruel leader Elena (Salma Hayek) has dispatched her top hatchet man Lado (Benicio Del Toro) to ensure that she gets it. When the cartel kidnaps Ophelia and threatens to kill her unless Ben and Chun comply, the desperate pot dealers enlist the aid of a shady DEA agent (John Travolta) to try and avert a tragedy. Emile Hirsch and Uma Thurman also star. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Release Date: Jul 06, 2012
Rated R for Language Throughout, Drug Use Throughout, Nudity, Some Graphic Sexuality and Strong Brutal/Grisly Violence
Runtime: 2 hr. 10 min.
Genres: Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Director: Oliver Stone Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del
Toro, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Emile Hirsch, Demián Bichir
Oliver Stone has wallowed in the pits of mediocrity since the mid 90’s, producing films that neither excite nor intrigue. His film’s started to feel like he was phoning it in, putting in as little effort as possible which was readily apparent onscreen. Thankfully Savages is a return to a more confident and self secure filmmaker, closer akin to Natural Born Killers without the film school excess. Working on a script based on a novel by Don Winslow, Stone is kept on course making his most coherent film in years. Savages is a gleefully violent crime tome told in an wonderfully engaging manner. A rather impressive feat since some of the character arch are terribly clichéd and clunky. Even with that, Stone’s film never disengages or loses your interest during its 2 hours plus run time. Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson are stuck playing two halves of what could have been one character in reality. Kitsch does his best to bring some gravity to his role, occasionally succeeding. Johnson is far too passive, a result of how his character is written, to register much. A golden baked and busty Blake Lively is given far too much screen time, made even worse with an annoying voiceover throughout, for my taste bringing very little to the role. The supporting cast, made up of grade A talent, is clearly having a ball playing overblown exaggerated characters. Salma Hayek in a black bob wig is a steely spitfire of a villain. Benicio Del Toro delivers one of his best performances, along with a mullets, in years playing an unhinged psychopath with subtle strength and ease. John Travolta rounds out the cast, playing a small but equally fun role which grows in importance as the film reaches its climax. It’s great to see Stone back on the top of his game let’s hope this is a sign of things to come.