Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson reviews the Oliver Stone movie Savages.
(Photo Courtesy of Facebook)
This weekend I went to the movie Savages, which is directed by critically acclaimed director Oliver Stone. Stone has directed the movies Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and JFK, all of which received eight Academy Award nominations.
This movie is adapted from a novel of the same name written by Don Winslow. Winslow also co-wrote the screenplay with Shane Salerno and Oliver Stone.
The premise of this movie is simple. Two guys, Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), have a pretty lucrative marijuana business and the Baja cartel is looking to cash in on their product.
Ben and Chon decide to decline an offer from Elena Sanchez (Salma Hayek), which makes her upset because she feels disrespected. She tells her head henchman Lado (Benicio Del Toro) to take the thing that matters most to those two, a girl named Ophelia “O” Sage (Blake Lively), so they get the point.
After O is kidnapped, Ben and Chon decide there is no time to wait around and bargain with Elena and try to get O back using force.
Fun Fact: This is the third film to come out in 2012 where Kitsch has had a lead part. (John Carter, Battleship, Savages)
What I Liked:
The relationship between Ben and Chon was an interesting one, but it was one I could envision myself having with my best friend. While the interaction with O, who is a shared girlfriend, is something I would never venture towards, the way the two interact is something we have all encountered.
Ben is the loving, caring, wouldn’t hurt a fly friend, while Chon is the one who sticks up for Ben and will knock down anyone and anything that could hurt his friend. The two got into a friendship together because they are the opposite.
It is also fun to watch these two work together to get O back. I know that this is an idea I have entertained in my head several times. Not the running of a marijuana business or taking on the Baja cartel, but one of joining forces and going rogue in pursuit of something, much like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
I would be the Sundance Kid.
What I Didn’t Like:
To me, the way a movie ends is like the finishing of a game. The entirety of it could be great, but if the ending does not live up to the main action, it could ruin the entire product that was put out before you.
A spoiler alert, there is two endings to the movie. I loved one of them and hated the other. It is very like Oliver Stone to be out there with his ideas of what direction a movie should take, but there is no direction left!
You have ended it and in such a complete way, I couldn’t see it being done in any other way. Then, he takes the rug out from under your feet and completely changes the stories finale. I do like things I don’t see coming, but the way he did it just made me angry.
It had me walking out of the theater with a bad taste in my mouth and questioning if I just wasted two hours of my day watching this film.
GO = Go See It!
In the end, I didn’t waste my time. Complete dude movie, full of explosions, money and an attractive women. A modern day Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, except no one is running to South America.
Kitsch is quickly becoming one of my favorite action movie actors and the character played by Aaron Johnson was a perfect compliment. Even though the ending was disappointing, I still would go see this movie again in theaters to catch anything I might have missed.
Even though it is very much a guys’ movie, I still think you could take a date to the movie because the storyline itself is, at the core, a love story. Two guys trying to save the love of their lives. Anybody can connect with that concept.
Next Up: Ice Age: Continental Drift