Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Under 250: Savages

If you're looking for a star turn from Blake Lively in Oliver Stone's Savages, you'll be sorely disappointed. Then again, if you're looking for a star turn from anyone in Savages, you're just about screwed.  It's a movie that could have made a cult splash in the early 90's mixed in with a handed-off Tarantino script or two (True Romance, Stone's own Natural Born Killers), but feels mistreated and kicked around.  Nothing is subtle in Savages, and from the over-saturated colors on down the best thing that can be said about the film is that it's entertaining enough and seems to fully aware of its own ham-fisted absurdity.  That said, I mention Lively's abilities because, well, one of the film's primary flaws is that it revolves a bit too heavily upon not only her character Ophelia's (I know, right?) punny voice over narration, but also our ability to care about what happens to her character.  See, Ophelia is this California blonde who mumble-boasts about the drug habit she's had since eighth grade and who's head over heels in love with two strapping young drug lord BFFs (Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson).  Whether Ophelia is a wandering sex toy or the boys are hers is of little consequence, because either way, she's the thing the Baja Cartel believes will force the boys to bend to their will, and evil Elena (Salma Hayek) has big plans for our dear narrator.  If you can survive the first five minutes of groan-inducing dialogue (Ophelia on sex with Kitsch's angry ex-Navy Seal: "I have orgasms, he has wargasms"), Savages is a fun enough, over-the-top adrenaline romp with moments of trash auteur brilliance.  As a Stone film, too, it carries far more kinetic energy than most of his lifeless, bloated recent entries, and if you're looking for a break during this season of prestige pictures...this fits the bill.  


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