Review~ Interesting But Ultimately Flawed, Typical Oliver Stone Work; Savages

Savages, with Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek & John Travolta.  Oliver Stone, director.  I tend to like Stone’s movies, even though there’s always something terribly wrong about them in total, in part or in concept.  This was no exception.  So many people hate his films that it’s a wonder he still gets funding to continue on.  Apparently, he has an audience of some kind, though I’m not quite sure (other than myself) who they are – which (I think) I’ve said before, but haven’t searched to find the repetition, so please forgive me if I’m having a genetic memory.  This thing was interesting & seemed to be playing with the word “savages” all the way through.

A loving threesome, a literal description, battle the forces of Mexico’s drug cartels on American soil.  Their choices & loyalties an ever present weakness, as is their innate compassion.  In over their heads, or just clever.  You decide.

Lively comes across as visually odd to me.  When I peruse head shots of her, it’s definitely not an impressive task.  Comes across a bit plain of face & needing the services of a spa, for her skin’s sake.  Yet, on film she’s surprises me as quite the attractive vixen.  Beautiful, especially when moving about, slinking around.  I do admire her acting ability, she definitely knows her stuff.  She compliments Johnson & Kitsch well.  If I had to dig to find a criticism of her, I’d say she doesn’t quite draw sympathy from an audience; but that’s not always necessary.  We’ll see if she’s eventually put to the test in something a bit more focused on her.

Hayek really stands out, supporting an cobbled together cast.  Now, there’s a true beauty & an extreme talent.  I’m sure she had quite a blast playing the villain, & it showed.

Stone’s skill at spending a lot of time & money on showing familiar places in a different light is what I usually see first.  Southern California & Northwest Mexico (Tijuana environs) seem so alive, without the cliche’s & redundancies.  He is a master, one has to admit.  If one were to believe his vision, it’s a beautiful area, filled with beautiful people, smoking the best marijuana available on the planet.  A lot of ne’re do wells, even more gangsters, lots of shopping & nice cars.  This pretty well sums up his setting.  Believe me, it sounds trivial but his sets, locations, backgrounds, extras & etc. are very important in his movies.  Give it some thought, you’ll agree – eventually.

My gushing & admiration of Kitsch is embarrassing, I know.  But I really do think he’s a great action star.  If I was a twenty-something or seventy-something, I’d still like him.  He’s actually able to act!  Which I’ve been saying over & over.  Stop me if you can’t stand it anymore.  An Oliver Stone movie is definitely an underline on his resume’.

Johnson (briefly seen in Albert Nobbs), I have no opinion on quite yet.  I can’t tell if he’s just coasting or attempting to be something.  How he got this part is completely beyond me; headlining over Del Toro (who’s magnificent & brooding as usual) Hayek & Travolta (who I refuse to describe further, other than he’s not hiding his noggin’s male pattern anymore).

Describing the movie’s “feel”?  If there was a musical score, which there had to be, the visuals & action totally distracted me & I can’t remember it.  It’s a busy, busy film.  Seemingly complicated, but really not.  I’m going to recommend this film with the caveat – don’t blame me if you don’t like the ending.  Some people want their cake & eat it too.  It’s a bit of a mess that would have been best left to an extra’s disc, on its eventual dvd release.

It’s brutish, but not overly brutal.

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One response

  1. Dammit! Now I HAVE to watch it!! I, too, like Taylor Kitsch and I saw him as Gambit in X Men: Origins which I loved and he was brilliant in Battleship as Alex Hopper so I can quite understand that you’re impressed with the man’s acting ability! Great review.