Everything about Savages is graphic and extreme: sex, violence, drugs, language, girlfriend-sharing, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid bromance references. Oliver Stone’s Postart balls-to-the-wall cinematic spree is a bloody gristle-fest that doesn’t know whether it is a thriller or a comedy, but manages to exploit both gratuitously.
Tree-hugger Ben (Aaron Johnson) and badass Chon (Taylor Kitsch) run a multi-gazillion dollar marijuana operation from their happy patch of Californian utopia with their mutual girlfriend Ophelia/O (Blake Lively). Life is bubbly as soda pop until the Mexicans try to edge into the sandpit wanting to cut the boys’ grass. Sand gets kicked in everybody’s faces, O gets kidnapped, shit gets blown up, and everybody gets in touch with their inner savage.
Nowhere near the class of Tarantino or Sena, the aptly named Stone’s reckless crop of reefer madness teeters between entertaining and ridiculous with the occasional pleasant high thrown in to numb the pain. The storyline is absurd; the acting hardly better—except for a mind-bending performance from Benicio del Toro as hit-man Lado. John Travolta turns up looking frighteningly Turnblad as corrupt copper Dennis, while the omniscient framing of diminutive Salma Hayek casts her less as reprehensible drug-queen and more pushover pipsqueak.
Savages doesn’t go completely to the dogs, prising itself out of the canine grip of tedium with an ending that capitalises upon its own predictability, firing off a new round of game-play like a pinball set on ‘ball save’. But with an implausible plot as mindless and senseless as the violence, Savages is all brutal with no brilliance. If it wasn’t for the chilling rendition of Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, Savages would be murder.
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio del Toro, John Travolta, Salma Hayek