Classic drug heist gone wrong...yeah, I know what your thinking. You have seen and heard it all before - but Savages brings something truly original to our screens. Director Oliver Stone, despite having an amazing track record: Platoon, Any given Sunday, Natural born killers...not to mention a few, bring us Savages. A narrative just as exhilarating as his previous successes. This drug induced trip will shock, surprise and even anger you, but is well worth sticking with.
We are in the orange county of California and cue the quirky, serine, pot crazy Ophelia, 'O' (Blake Lively: Gossip Girl, The Town) who has not one, but two lovers - Ben, the rational one (Aaron Taylor-Johnson: Kickass, Nowhere Boy) and the complete antitheses, Chon a former Navy Seal (Taylor Kitsch: The Covenant, John Carter). They have a pretty good set up here, in this strange three way relationship - or perhaps the sheer amount of weed the three smoke is clouding their judgement? Anyway, their ideal, spaced out life gets turned upside down when they cut a deal with the wrong guys in town (Mexican drug cartels) resulting in O getting kidnapped. This becomes a brutal fight between the boys trying to get the woman they love back in one piece and a woman who will stop at nothing, Elena. Who better than to play the domineering boss than Salma Hayek (Once upon a time in Mexico, Frida), who gives at utterly convincing performance as the hard bitch who always gets what she wants.
Mr.Stone, along with the editors and writers all deserve credit for feature. Each and every scene appears to be fantastically shot, with cuts and effects that really compliment the clever script. Having said that, these guys had a little help from Don Winslow who penned the original novel - albeit upon hearing the idea Stone immediately started plans for a feature film adaptation. And boy his choices paid off. With supporting actors such as Jon Travolta, Benicio Del Toro and Emile Hirsch all equally capable of the performances they give, contributing comedic, even slapstick value to this otherwise thick and tense plot. Quite a lengthy one, but one that deserves the time.
132mins, 18 (2012)