Knee-jerk review: "Savages"

1. Overheard leaving the theater: "Man, that movie sucked."
2. We disagree, but admit he might have a point.
3. For a movie too long by 30 minutes, it feels rather skimpy and unmemorable.  A nice diversion, but not exactly necessary.
4. Benicio Del Toro must surely be the least vain actor working today.  He never, ever looks good in his movies and doesn't seem to care.
5. If you're looking for a movie that deals in extreme torture and decapitation, this is the one for you.  In other words, it doesn't shy away from the more gruesome, icky elements of Mexican drug cartels.
6. And while it's not often that a movie shows this kind of graphic pelvis-grinding sex (in not one, but two scenes), we're not at all surprised that ambitious starlet Blake Lively chose to stay fully clothed.
7. Who wouldn't want John Travolta strutting around their movie?  Love him.
8. Once you have kids, glib and off-handed threats to children in movies no longer just ha-ha-ha wash over you.  They come off more like a sucker punch to the gut.  They're not funny or entertaining.
9. We were surprised how sympathetic and layered the two villains (Del Toro and Salma Hayek) were portrayed.  As ruthless as they may be, there is a reason and a logic and a purpose to why they do what they do.  Well done.
10. Much has been made of the "trick" ending, but we liked it okay.
11. You really shouldn't focus on the Blake Lively character.  She's the narrator, but her spoiled, petulant, rich-girl stoner lacks sympathy.  We don't understand why the two heroes are so into her, other than that it makes for a sexy threesome "free love" gimmick for the story.  Even her name ("O") is girly annoying.
12. The far more compelling story is the way this violent misadventure completely changes the hippie peacenik character played by Aaron Johnson.  This is a guy who goes to Africa to build water wells.  But when he tangles with the cartel that kidnaps his girlfriend, he soon finds himself participating in a torture murder.
13. Part of us fantasized that the rescue of Blake Lively would be so horrific for all parties involved (what they had to do to get her, what she had to endure as she waited) that by the time the heroes saved her, they'd all be so changed and scarred and soulless that their threesome romance would prove broken and they'd wind up going their separate ways.
14. No one would have guessed this is an Oliver Stone movie if his name wasn't on the the credits.  The Cheese Fry in 1995 got on a local newscast giving a pro-Oliver Stone soundbite while sitting in the audience of a Stone retrospective.  We're sure whatever we had to say was insightful and cleverly-worded.
15. We're rooting for Taylor Kitsch, who may be taking an unfair share of the blame for John Carter and Battleship underperforming.
16. We'll give is a solid C.

1 comment:

  1. Lively's narrative takes this film down a lot but the rest of the performances make this film a lot better than you would expect from another Stone "drug movie". Good review MD. Could have been a whole lot better but not terrible, and that's good considering what Stone has put out in the past decade.