Directed by Oliver Stone

> > Jul 06 2012

Savages - Directed by Oliver Stone
By Kevin ScottIt's not necessarily that Savages is that bad of a movie. In fact, there are stretches and individual scenes where it's downright watchable. But the truth is that for someone with the pedigree of Oliver Stone, the bigger crime is that he created something as pedestrian and uninspired as this. A complete disaster would have been preferred, as long as the one-time slugger was still swinging for the fences.

Amidst a story overstuffed with characters and a plot that struggles admirably to keep track of them all, the least complicated element is the central love triangle. That would be because Laguna Beach pot czars Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) are perfectly happy sharing the lovely Ophelia, and the feeling is mutual.

The trouble is that not everyone is as enamoured by the two entrepreneurs. Elena (Salma Hayek) is the head of a Mexican drug cartel that seeks to gain their expertise and network at any cost. She enlists her top underling, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), to grease the wheels by kidnapping their beloved O, as they call her.

But wait, there's so much more. John Travolta as a crooked DEA agent, Emile Hirsch as a hyper-efficient money launderer and there is a seemingly endless string of background characters that are quickly established, if only to be unceremoniously dispatched later on.

The movie spins its wheels trying to keep all of this engaging, but ends up predictably uneven as a result. Especially troubling are scenes of the captive O becoming increasingly unimpressed by her treatment, leading to demands of better food and, of course, some weed to help her "take the edge off" being kidnapped. That they acquiesce to these stipulations is even more stupefying.

Only Del Toro and Travolta imbue their characters with any vitality – the former finding an intriguing amount of duplicity as the menacing henchman, while the latter plays against type with his beleaguered federal agent, accessing amusing notes of exasperation beneath the fašade of power.

There is a pervasive sense that the material is beneath a director like Stone, and the nagging question remains of what attracted him to the Don Winslow novel that served as the basis for the film. One can only hope that he will return to tackling more difficult projects in the future and leave this kind of fare to promising music video directors.
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I'm anxious to see the director's adaptation of the novel and his commentary on the trafficking business. The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! This money could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles. Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural resources and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red! Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it. Voice you opinion with the movement and read more on my artist's blog at
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1. DREG: You're trash and no one cares about your fucking blog.
2. Mr. Scott: You don't seem to have anything to say, which is made worse by your lack of writing style. Maybe a career in food services would be more up your alley?
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Jenny just needs to get laid.
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Jenny's being a little uppity, but this is a pretty pathetically written review. Were your A-listers busy or something?
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Not only is is this review masterfully written, Kevin Scott is also a sexy beast.
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Thanks for the review, Kevin! Ignore the haters. Remember, those who can't, criticize.
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Whats with all the fancy words? Are you trying to impress you editor or something. Unceremoniously,acquiesce, accessing amusing notes of exasperation beneath the fa├žade of power.... I mean wtf is this? The only people who are going to pretend to understand anything are all those fancy urban hipster douche-bags.
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I'd be interested to know how the movie was in terms of the sexual exploitation of Ophelia's character, it was something that really stood out for me in the preview. Was that the case, or am I to be happily proven wrong?
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What a shitty review. Man, I think I wrote better movie reviews in my high school magazine over a decade ago! You should of mentioned the cinematography, the editing, how Uma Thurman's role was cut (O's bohemian mum), and music. Also, Stone bought the right's even before the novel got published, and the book is ridiculously good. Was named book of the year by several newspapers and a great review from none other than Stephen King himself. ALSO, Winslow just released his prequel The Kings of Cool in June, that would of been a cool bit of addition info for fans who read this atrocious review and liked the movie, and for them to explore the origins of Ben, Chon and O's relationship and how they became who they are in the present.
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So was the movie good or not?
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