Friday, July 6, 2012
Directed by Oliver Stone, Savages is a "shoot 'em up" movie, plain and simple, though it's masquerading as a story about the marijuana industry. The film will captivate your attention from its opening scenes and hold it until the very end, and the acting in the film benefits from a strong ensemble cast. The movie is definitely not for the younger set, as it's a VERY "hard R," but adults will enjoy its fast-paced story.
Ophelia, who goes by "O" (Blake Lively, TV's Gossip Girl), has a relationship with both Chon (Taylor Kitsch, Battleship) and Ben (Aaron Johnson, Kick-Ass), who are partners in a lucrative business growing and selling marijuana. Chon and Ben live in a ocean-view house and share O, and life is good; that is, until the Mexican drug cartel wants in on their business. When they decline a business offer, the angry Mexicans decide to retaliate by kidnapping O. Their leader is Elena (Salma Hayek, Puss in Boots) but her henchman is Lado (Benicio del Toro, The Wolfman), a particularly screwed-up man who enjoys causing others pain. Chon and Ben must pony up $13 million to buy out O before Elena's group hurts her, and also continue their business deal with the Mexican drug cartel; instead, however, they decide to take matters into their own hands.
The three main characters, played by Lively, Kitsch, and Johnson, all do very well in their roles, though they're mostly there for eye candy. John Travolta (From Paris with Love) has a juicy part as a federal drug officer who has an "understanding" of sorts with Chon and Ben, and Salma Hayek, who admits to Lively's character that she "inherited" the business from her murdered husband, is another scene-stealer in the film.
Yes, see this movie, just be aware that it is extremely violent/bloody and also has a lot of sexual scenes, one of which was used to open the film; therefore, it's definitely a "hard R," in my opinion. There's also a huge twist at the end, which I rather enjoyed though others might not, as - without giving too much away - it lures the audience into believing certain plot points that end up not being true. The story is not particularly original - feuds between different "drug clans" lead to a girl someone (in this case, two) love being kidnapped - but between the ensemble cast and the way Oliver Stone sets up some of his scenes, the film was one of the better ones I have seen in the theater lately.
Savages is in theaters today, July 6th, and is rated R with a runtime of 130 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.