FILM REVIEW: Savages
It's not that I couldn't believe a menage a trois between a botanist-entrepreneur-philanthropist, a bubble-headed Southern California princess, and a haunted and hard-bitten veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, Demian Bichir, Sandra Echeverria
I just don't believe the one that is at the centre of Oliver Stone's latest, Savages.
Fans of Don Winslow's novel, which I have not read, have obviously embraced these characters in both the source material and his recently-published sequel, but somewhere between the page and the screen (Winslow gets co-adapter credit, with Stone and Shane Salerno), these central characters have been reduced from real-seeming people to glossy, convenient archetypes.
The key word being "glossy", as Stone and cinematographer Dan Mindel (John Carter, JJ Abrams' Star Trek) introduce us to brainy and committed Ben (Aaron Johnson), tough guy Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and breezy O (Blake Lively) in California.
Ben grows extraordinary marijuana with sky-high THC counts and devotes much of the proceeds to developing world schools and local medicinal co-ops, with Chon providing the occasional muscle needed to keep the bad guys from harshing Ben's mellow.
O (short for Ophelia) loves them both, leading to sex with each (and both) where her flesh is more covered than the boys'. That's what happens when you date a girl with a no-nudity contract.
A Mexican drug cartel wants in on their action. The guys are initially resistant and decide to pull up stakes and flee, but the narcotraficantes kidnap O to force Ben and Chon's hand. Once things get personal, Ben and Chon go on the offensive, attacking the cartel .
It's almost a relief when O gets nabbed because Savages segues from being ludicrous to a pulpy, trashy noir flick. It doesn't get less ridiculous, but at least it develops a pulse as both camps commit monstrous acts. - Reuters
Luc Besson's worshipful film about Myanmar opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is a chronicle of political courage. It is also a love story, illuminating the remarkable relationship between Suu and her husband Michael Aris. The film is programmatically inspirational but not as inspiring as it should be. - A O Scott, The New York Times
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