movie film review | chris tookey


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  Savages Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
4.65 /10
Taylor Kitsch , Adam Taylor-Johnston , Blake Lively
Full Cast >

Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by: Winslow from Winslow’s book

Released: 2012
Genre: CRIME
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 131

Waste of a good cast.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Oliver Stone’s Savages suffers from a serious lack of likeability. This is one of Stone’s apolitical movies, which he occasionally makes in a desperate, invariably doomed, attempt to have a hit. The precedents are not encouraging; his last movie like this, U-Turn, perished unloved in 1997.

His heroes are two drug-pushing coke-sniffing stoners. We’re meant to root for them because they’re American and handsome. But played with an unattractive blankness by Taylor Kitsch (pictured left) and Adam Taylor-Johnson (right), they’re such ciphers we couldn’t care less what happens to them.

Even less sympathetic is the blonde who shares their bed, a spoiled bird-brain played by Blake Lively (pictured centre) with all the depth of Paris Hilton. She also narrates with such moronic self-assurance that it’s a relief when the villains gag her.

So boring are the heroes that it’s hard not to root for the slaveringly evil Mexican bad guys led by drugs baron Salma Hayek. Benicio Del Toro does his best to steal the movie, if not our hearts, as her chief sidekick, a leering rapist with a keen interest in torture and decapitation. A fat, balding John Travolta’s presence as a gleefully corrupt FBI man is a sad reminder that he used to be in decent movies.

As usual, Stone shoots violence with a worrying amount of sadistic enthusiasm. As always, his dialogue is atrociously wooden. His co-writers include Shane Salerno, whose rap-sheet includes Alien Vs Predator and an abysmal remake of Shaft, and novelist Don Winslow, who should stick to books.

Stone’s weird value system remains intact from such famously obnoxious films as Natural Born Killers. He’s a sucker for guys who are lawless outsiders revelling in their freedom. Unfortunately, most people will look at his supposedly life-affirming heroes and think they thoroughly deserve to be dead.

The movie isn’t about anything except its own uber-flashy direction. It’s trash pretending to be deep, and as such it may find an audience who prize style over content and wish they were living in the era of Easy Rider.

The film might have made a watchable 88-minute B-movie. As it drags aimlessly to an unintentionally depressing “feelgood” conclusion at two hours 11, I marvelled at how many of the audience were still awake.

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