DIRECTOR: Oliver Stone
CAST: Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro, John Travolta, Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson
CLASSIFICATION: 18 LSVD
RUNNING TIME: 131 minutes
RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)
STYLISHLY filmed and as nihilistic and crazy as you would expect from an Oliver Stone offering, ‘Savages’ fails to live up to its premise with a double ending that unravels and a theme that goes nowhere.
Stone pits a couple of peace-loving marijuana growers against a stone cold drug cartel boss, giving us violence and sex in equal measure. But you never get a sense of just exactly what savagery is supposed to mean here.
The weed growers are philanthropist Ben (Johnson) and soldier boy John (Kitsch), who have created a multi-billion dollar business based on organic methods.
At home they have a cosy setup with the beautiful O (Lively) as the object of their desire and their little ménage à trois is a cosy one.
The film’s biggest surprise, and pretty much the reason you keep on watching, is Salma Hayek as Elena, the baddie in control. She heads the Mexican Baja Cartel which muscles in on the boys’ territory. Hayek gives Benicio del Toro a run for his money.
Dressed in cool white linens, stilettos and a Cleopatra hairstyle, Elena sashays into town with a side order of ruthlessness that gives us one side of the savagery hinted at in the title.
The guys try to outdo her savagery when O is taken by Elena, and that is when Savages simply descends into an ordinary crime drama.
Right at the end there is some weird dippy hint at another aspect to the theme.
Stone knows how to create intensity, but the celebration of graphic violence is completely scuppered by the happy trippy alternative.
If you liked... ‘Domino’, ‘Haywire’ or ‘Killer Elite’... you will like this.
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Five lucky readers can each win a ‘Savages’ book and a DVD copy of the film ‘Casino’. To stand a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer this easy question:
Who directed Savages?
Send your answer, along with your contact details, to [email protected] Please put ‘Tonight SAVAGES Competition’ in the subject line. The competition closes on Wednesday, September 12, at midnight. Only the winners will be contacted.