Having moved on from his political agenda, a move that has cost him dearly; Director Oliver Stone returned back to form last year with his movie Savages.
Two surf dudes, one with a military background, the other a passion to save the world; have a nice business in their Californian paradise. John (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) run an incredibly popular Cannabis factory, one that leaves others standing in their awe. Their activities have not gone unnoticed by a Mexican cartel who want part of their action. In order to strike a chord with the two men, the leader abducts the one thing they both love Ophelia (Blake Lively).
Savages is an appropriate title for the movie, one of the opening scene takes director Oliver Stone back to his roots, with a chainsaw wielding Benicio Del Toro decapitating men who refuse to work with his cartel, as a message to Ben and John. The scene sent as a video message sets the tone for the movie, but in other ways works in stark contrast from other aspects of the movie. The story is a difficult balancing act of extremes, one that Stone just about pulls off.
The story runs fluidly throughout, it has a certain 80’s feel about it, a sort of mini-epic. The start to end game is clear, but the journeys the story takes the viewer on are not so obvious.
John Travolta seems a little out of place, despite his gritty performance in Pulp Fiction two decades ago. One dimensional is possibly the only term you could use to define him, but in his defense personal tragedy that occurred around the time the movie was made must be taken into account.
Much of the movies strength is carried on the shoulders of Salma Hayek who plays Elena the leader of the cartel. Her ruthless attitude crossed with motherly compassion is an enjoyable element of the movie, she is the puppet master and all bow at some point in fear before her.
The ultimate praise however must go to Adam Peters for his phenomenal score, movies can be made or broken by their score, and Peter’s musical selection of tracks, as well as own compositions is absolutely astounding.
Savages really works, it’s menacing, funny, horrific and never once dull. It proves that Stone still has what it takes to make a compelling movie, but it does also show the weaknesses of a decade spent chasing political agendas. Expect Savages to become a cult classic in years to come.
Purchase Savages, and the killer soundtrack from Amazon by clicking the links below.