Saturday, July 7, 2012
'SAVAGES' A PERFECT TITLE by Pamela Powell
The definition of "savages" and who fits that definition is a relative thing. It all depends upon your perspective as is shown in the just released movie directed by Oliver Stone, SAVAGES. Aaron Johnson (Ben) and Taylor Kitsch (Chon) play a young botonist and "enforcer," respectively. Aaron's scientific knowledge puts them on the cutting edge of the best cannibus in the world which of course, is used primarily for medicinal purposes. Why the need for the "enforcer" you ask? It's for the other fraction of their business that's not medicinal and is lucrative. When the Mexican drug cartel wants to take these two entrepreneur's business over on their terms only, that's when all hell breaks loose.
What a cast! Blake Lively (O which is short for Ophelia) plays the beautiful girlfriend of both Ben and Chon (I think she's on to something there!). They willingly share her as O states both of them equal an entire man. (Again, I think she's on to something!) The downfall is that they both love her and when the Mexican drug cartel kidnap her, both Ben and Chon will stop at nothing to get her back. OK. Yes, this is a familiar storyline, but the acting, directing, and cast make it good. Benicio Del Toro, of course, is the embodiment of evil. His eyes show no soul. John Travolta is the DEA agent walking the fine line between corruption and lawfulness. Demian Bichir who I loved in A BETTER LIFE, was fascinating to watch on the screen as he can go from WEEDS to an endearing father in A BETTER LIFE and back again to an even more intimidating character than in WEEDS although the subject matter appears to be the same! That leaves Salma Hayek as the head honcho of the drug cartel who is convincingly ruthless and apparently heartless. The story line is peeled away layer by layer, sometimes skipping back in time to update the audience. The narration and story is seen from the perspective of O which keeps you on track. This was a wonderful integration of narration, visual story-telling and acting.
The intensity of every scene kept me on the edge of my seat. It was, at times, horrifically brutal and graphically violent. Some scenes were, to me, so disturbing that I watched the reflection of the movie in the floor in front of me as I couldn't have those images imprinted on my brain. In contrast, I must say that the two main characters were wonderful to watch (so much better than Magic Mike!) and the sex scenes were pretty steamy. Now those I didn't watch in the floor's reflection! (Remember, this is from a female's perspective here!) This is not a typical movie I would have chosen to see, but I did enjoy it even though it was much more violent than I can usually handle.
This 2 hour and 10 minute movie, however, was 10 minutes too long. Yes, I do seem to be a bit AADD (Adult onset Attention Deficit Disorder), but if you see this movie, you will be able to guess which part I would cut. Without giving anything away as it drives me nuts when reviewers describe the ENTIRE movie (why bother seeing it?), the ending was disappointing. I would cut 10 minutes of that.