imdb). His film is not as rough & dirty as Gerardo Naranjobut`s "Miss Bala" (drivebycuriosity), but that´s ok. "Savages" has enough scenes to scare the hell out of you and is highly entertaining.
Based on the same named novel by Don Winslow the flick tells the story of 2 Californian beach boys and highly successful pot growers and their shared girlfriend who slide into a very messy clash with a Mexican drug cartel. Stone and his co-scriptwriters Shane Salerno & Don Winslow created an appealing narrative of naivte, greed, extreme violence, corruption and betrayal. For many people "Savages" seems to work even as a comedy. At least the audience in Manhattan´s 34th Street (Midtown) had a lot of fun with it and almost every scene got a lot of laughs!
The cast is really fun. I enjoyed the newest incarnation of John Travolta as a corrupt narcotics officer between the frontiers of the drug war. The actor has been developing his nonchalance to perfection and plays his role enlighted almost like a Buddha. Selma Hayek as a drug leader with a Cleopatra wig emits enough viciousness to freeze the hell and Benicio del Tore as her ruthless but twisted enforcer seems to be on a straight rout to an Oscar.
The (relatively) newcomer trio Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson as the weed producing beach bum threesome doesn`t match them, but did a good job anyway. Their endangered Ménage à trois delivers salt to the story. But don`t expect European style sex scenes. The flick is made for a prudish American audience.
"Savages" also serves the cineasts. The cinematography of Daniel Mindel is one of the finest works I have recently seen. He created pictures which are constantly changing. Gorgeous landscapes jump into desert scenes and to coolish interior shots, colorful scenes switched with black-and-white shots. The pulsing cinematography, which is sometimes like a psychedelic trip, helps to suck the audience deep into the story.
The soundtrack plays an important part to augment the attention. A surprising eclectic mixture of classical music (Johannes Brahms wikipedia) with Bob Dylan, rap, reggae and latin rock keeps you on alert. The use of Peter Tosh´s "Legalize it" wasn't a coincidence.
Olive Stone found the common denominator and serves different tastes quite satisfyingly. I reckon that this movie will be remembered in years when "Spiderman" and "Avengers" already are forgotten.