Sunday, July 15, 2012

Savages (Universal)

Director Oliver Stone is back in form with this violent, often gruesome screen version of Don Winslow’s novel. Winslow adapted the script with Shane Salerno and Stone. Former Navy SEAL Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and peace-loving, ecologically minded Ben (Aaron Johnson) are best buds and, run a thriving drug business from their comfy Orange County house, sharing their bed with the beauteous O (short for Ophelia) (Blake Lively) who narrates in voice-over. When Mexican cartel drug lord Elena (Salma Hayek in one of her best roles) sends her minions to strike a deal with the boys and the latter try to ditch the business, Elena arranges for O to be kidnapped, prompting them to desperate measures to try and free her. Though you may wince at much of what transpires on screen, the film is undeniably gripping, and performances are excellent. Benicio Del Toro as Elena’s nasty-as-they-come deputy is genuinely frightening, and a beefy John Travolta is appropriately slimy as a corrupt Drug Enforcement agent. It’s a rough, exhausting ride, and not for the fainthearted, but expert filmmaking all the same.(Rated R by the MPAA for strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout.) (Harry Forbes) Print this post


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