Don’t fuck with Walmart…Embrace the change
– Corrupt DEA official Dennis’ advice to Ben and Cho on how to respond to the Mexican drug cartel in Oliver Stone’s new film Savages
Beneath our thin cloaks of civility, clothes and chatter, truth be said, most of us are savages (yes, you too).
But every once in a while, for some people the veneer drops, the mask unravels and the curtain rises to show Man’s inherent savage state of violence, blood and gore. What Hobbes likely meant by the state of nature.
If, like me, you have a lusty appetite for seeing people in their true bloody colors, then Oliver Stone’s new movie Savages is the right pick for you this weekend.
Savages is a delicious 125-minute blood fest catalyzed by love and fueled by the drug trade between Mexico and the United States.
And midwifed by a corrupt government official.
Drugs, love, money, corruption and violence, oh, what a volatile combination!
Savages – On Both Sides
At first glance, the Mexican drug cartels with their daily orgy of violence including mass beheadings seem the more savage, bestial kind.
But as we soon realize, the two Americans Cho and Ben, peddlers of high quality marijuana that attracted the Mexican cartel’s attention, are no different.
Cho (the Baddist, paranoid, ex-military guy) and Ben (the Buddhist, Bono-type) live in a harmonious ménage à trois with their girlfriend O in a nice ocean side home in the Southern California town of Laguna Beach.
Their high-quality weed is in great demand (15-million satisfied users is nothing to sneer at), Cho keeps having his wargasms, Ben is doing a Bono in Africa and Asia and nourishing dreams of a renewable energy business, and O goes through intense orgasms, her legs tightly wrapped tightly around either Cho or Ben.
Just when the trio’s idyllic existence in a large beach-side house starts to evoke audience-envy, trouble comes, not knocking but rudely crashing into their lives.
A Mexican drug cartel headed by Elena Sanchez (Salma Hayek in a Cleopatra-like hairdo), with a well-deserved reputation for beastly violence, wants to partner with Cho and Ben.
And they don’t plan on taking ‘No” for an answer.
But “No” is indeed the response from Ben and Cho to the intense anger of the Mexican criminals.
The wily, coldly violent Elena quickly senses the weak-point of Cho and Ben and has their girl O kidnapped by her henchmen.
Now the gloves are off, the rocket launchers are out, IEDs (improved explosive devices) are planted and emotions run amok in all directions.
It’s a bloody fight between the two sides, with deadly assaults, retaliatory kidnapping, blackmail, robbery, whipping and worse forms of blood-chilling violence.
The high violence quotient, intense action and the tightly written screenplay make Savages a fast-paced high octane joyride.
Intelligently written and with a right tinge of sarcasm, Savages is gripping in its intensity. Not for a moment does the violence seem gratuitous.
Keeping pace is the fine photography, occasionally turning into black and white mode and sometimes jerky suggesting a handheld camera.
Support Cast Eclipse Main Players
Savages is one of those rare films where the support team makes mincemeat of the main players.
Savages’ three main actors, Taylor Kitsch (as Chon), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Ben) and Blake Lively (Ophelia “O”) can only charitably be described as mediocre actors.
But there’s a rich payoff in the support team of Benicio del Toro, John Travolta and Salma Hayek.
Academy Award winner Benicio del Toro shines as Elena’s ruthless chief henchman Lado.
Easily one of the most menacing criminals we’ve seen in recent times, Benicio reminded us of Javier Bardem’s relentless, ruthless stride in No Country for Old Men.
Salma Hayek is the cold, foul-mouthed, ruthless chief of the cartel, who has senior henchmen sweating at her outbursts.
Never is Salma more engaging than when she rages against her chief underling Lado, “I made you motherfucker…don’t forget whose tits you suckled, idiot.”
John Travolta in a small role as the corrupt DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) official leaves a strong impression.
Savages – Worth Watching
I found Savages to be a fairly decent movie.
But then I’m not the squeamish kind and relish mayhem, blood and gore, as long as it’s not out of place.
Some viewers may find the ending(s) rather odd.
Hey, it’s director Oliver Stone’s call ultimately and I didn’t think it was out of sync with the rest of the movie.
SearchIndia.com recommends Savages. The movie is playing in theatres across America.