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Films in Cinema Reviews: “Savages” Movie

The newest Oliver Stone film stars Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch as Ben and Chon in an ultra-violent story of rich, white, Californians versus a Mexican drug cartel. The duo shares a girlfriend in a vapid Ophelia (“O”, played by Blake Lively), which is fairly unconventional and raises a lot of unanswered questions, thrusting the viewer into a constantly shifting space from the very beginning. Ben is a hippie botanist and Chon is the military-trained enforcer that make up a multi-million dollar drug operation being run out of Southern California. Cartel leader Elena (Salma Hayek) requests they give up a portion of their income plus teach her growers how to yield stronger marijuana, and when rejected, she unleashes the terrifying Lado (Benicio Del Toro) and his crew to kidnap O. Rather than receive compliance, Ben and Chon commit a variety of violent crimes in this two hour action-drama, ending in a very weak conclusion.

It’s hard to feel particularly sympathetic for O, Chon, or Ben - do we need them to reunite so we can witness more drug-fueled threesomes? Furthermore, why did Oliver Stone make the decision to take a very real and scary topic such as the Mexican Drug War and relegate it to be merely the exciting elements of a peculiar love story starring three white people? Writer Don Winslow and Oliver Stone are both Caucasian (assumption based on Google image search), so perhaps it is simply an oversight or more likely, there is an assumption that the intended American audience wouldn’t be able to appreciate a violent crime film with a Mexican cast. Regardless, this film is stylish with little substance and has more than enough gruesome moments to make everyone uncomfortable.

Films in Cinema’s Rating of “Savages”: 3/10

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