The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Savages | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Savages

Directed by: Oliver Stone
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Salma Hayek, Benicio Del Toro

When Lively is kidnapped by Hayek's Mexican drug cartel, it's up to her two lovers, Taylor-Johnson and Kitsch, to get her back.

Despite having problems with his politics and style of film-making, there was a time when I would eagerly await the next Oliver Stone film. With two decades of self-indulgent turkeys under his belt, those days are long gone. When I say this is his worst film to date it should give you an idea of just how bad "Savages" is.
Stone is like the Grandad who thinks wearing a leather jacket and a backwards baseball cap keeps him "down with the kids", not realizing everyone just thinks he looks pathetic. As a younger man he made mature films like "Salvador" and "Wall Street" but now, approaching his seventies, his films resemble those made by a teenager who just discovered editing software. There's a shot here of a bear's head mounted on a wall on top of which Stone lays a growling sound effect. The guy just can't help himself, his editorial decisions are as sensible as Lindsay Lohan's lifestyle choices. This began with "JFK", got out of control with "Natural Born Killers" and has reached (hopefully) it's nadir with "Savages".
Because Stone is so hip and left-wing, he puts his protagonists in a menage-a-trois relationship. That would be fine if he could make it realistic but here it's completely unconvincing, thanks both to bad writing and sub-par performances from the three leads. Lively is probably not as bad a performer as the script makes her seem but you'll squirm every time she speaks. She provides a crude voice-over, just so those texting at the back can follow the plot, and it features some horrific lines. Describing Afghanistan vet's Kitsch's love-making style she drops the doozy: "I had orgasms, he had wargasms." 
For someone who considers himself a liberal, Stone's film is incredibly xenophobic and would be applauded by Tea Party members and anyone with an anti-immigration agenda. Compare the drug operation run by our heroes to that of Hayek. Portraying a Mexican drug cartel as cold-blooded killers who only care about money is perfectly accurate but don't try and tell me Americans get into the business so they can build wells for starving Africans. The plot does however rely on our lead trio behaving like imbeciles. I don't run a large scale drug operation but if I did and received a video clip from a Mexican gang featuring multiple beheadings, my bags would be packed quicker than you can roll a spliff. These idiots actually stick around in an attempt to negotiate a deal.
Ten thousand people, many of them women and children, die each year in Mexico's drug war. Thirty years age Stone might have told us one of their stories. Instead he'd rather present us with three obnoxious Californian kids who frankly make Mexican drug lords seem noble. 
1/10

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