Savages by Oliver Stone
2 out of 5 stars
Blurb: Part-time environmentalist and philanthropist Ben and his ex-mercenary buddy Chon run a Laguna Beach–based marijuana operation, now the Mexican Baja Cartel wants in, and sends them the message that a "no" is unacceptable. When they refuse to back down, the cartel escalates its threat, kidnapping Ophelia, the boys’ playmate and confidante. O’s abduction sets off negotiations and plot twists as Ben and Chon look for a way to come out on top.
Thoughts: Oliver Stone has taken a fantastic, short, adreneline fuelled piece of modern noir writing and made a slow, messy, overly long movie about the war on drugs. For a film the length of Traffic this has 1/10th the substance and none of the style. It took me less time to read the book than it did to watch the movie.
There were very few good things about this movie; Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro are the only people to come out of it with any kind of credibility, these actors deserved a better movie to perform in, that's for sure. Benicio Del Toro is never bad, he even made a Halle Berry movie watchable but Salma Hayek on the other hand has a history of mediocre performances in good movies and appearing in movies she really shouldn't have because they suck. This time the movie sucked but she was better than I remember seeing her in an English speaking role. Does The Faculty count?
The long list of complaints has to start with Blake Lively, a truly terrible actor; she narrates this film yet she can hardly speak words, everything about her casting was wrong and if I never see her in a film ever again it will be too soon.
More of a concern was that there was no sign that Oliver Stone was actually awake during the production of this movie. When I think back to some of his classic films they all have a lot of style and a very particular style at that but with Savages there was nothing, just a standard collection of shots cut together in a boring way. This was the man who made Tom Cruise watchable in Born on the Fourth of July, hell, this man made Natural Born Killers and Platoon, he may have made a movie about Dubya but I never expected anything quite this stupid. Perhaps it's time he retired?
And let's not forget the ending! Oh my gosh the ending took the movie to whole new depths of awful. Some people may not have been satisfied with the ending of the novel but I liked its ambiguity and more importantly the more explicit nature of it seemed to work in the movie as far as the awful acting of the three leads would allow it and yet, AND YET! She woke up in the shower and remembered a dream in which JR was dead. Total copout, I expected more from Oliver Stone and Don Winslow but I should have known better it seems, this is Hollywood afterall.
Dear Don Winslow, now that you have achieved a level of success and acknowledgement of your talent, the next time one of your excellent books is adapted in to a movie please retain some control over the material as this film could easily have killed your movie career. I know it must have been hard after all of the support Oliver Stone gave you and all that money floating around but even so, you know? At least it wasn't the fault of your script. Thank you, the end.
Go ahead tell me what was actually good about this film. I know it wasn't as bad as Total Recall 2012 or Amazing Spider-Man but that's not a good enough reason to like it I'm afraid, Im going to need a structured argument in defence of this abomination.
The blahblahblahgay book review of Savages by Don Winslow
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