Weed-Growing, Girl-Sharing Action Flick: A "Savages" Review
And those are only two (of many) reasons you should see it
You know those moments during a movie when everyone winces and gasps in unison? "Savages," directed by Oliver Stone, provides such moments, in addition to (some) laughs and a weird sense of voyeurism.
When we first meet Ophelia (Blake Lively), she's engaged in daytime sex with Iraq war vet-turned-weed entrepreneur Chon (Taylor Kitch). Ophelia, or O, as she's affectionately called, lives with Chon and his business partner and longtime friend, Ben (Aaron Johnson). They co-own their "indie" but very successful weed business and co-fuck their beautiful shared girlfriend, O. She claims to love them both - a notion that, while not entirely novel to our generation, is rarely seen in this type of domestic menage-a-trois steeped in feelings. We get the sense early on that Ben and Chon's bond complements their situation, rather than deters it. O serves as our narrator and is arguably one of the reasons for the subsequent bloodshed.
Don't blame O though; she's just the hot collateral that the Mexican cartel, led by Salma Hayek, decides to take from Chon and his less violent botanist partner, Ben. Still with me? Ben and Chon run the Chick-Fil-A of weed enterprises, and Hayek's McDonalds operation wants their secret sauce a cut of the profits - if fast food restaurants hired machine gun-wielding hombres. In any case, when Ben and Chon (unwittingly) offend the "Madrina" Elena (Salma Hayek), she dispatches her goons to kidnap what she obviously sees as Ben and Chon's weakness.
"Savages" sports what feels more like an ensemble cast than just lead and supporting actors. Every single actor plays their part well and with purpose. Joining Hayek on the cartel side is Benicio Del Toro's 'Lado' played with a perfect dark-eyed shiftiness. Presumably in the middle as a crooked DEA agent is a balding John Travolta. Travolta, despite taking money from both sides and a wicked sense of savvy, still retains humanity as the father of two young girls and a dying wife. And there lies the dichotomous nugget at the center of "Savages." For all the ruthless, sometimes senseless, violence that surrounds these characters, there's something humanizing about them. Even Salma Hayek's "Elena," as fiercely well as the actress plays her, shows instances of a tender, loving mother.
But, don't let that soft talk fool you, this movie is all about its bang-bang-shoot 'em-up gusto. Oliver Stone's gathered a strong cast, with an interesting enough plot to keep you in your seat gasping, wincing and laughing along with everyone else.
"Savages" opens July 6th, 2012.