Film Review: Savages
What’s worse than having Taylor “the world’s least memorable man” Kitsch and Blake “do I even need to say what’s wrong with her at this point?” Lively as your leads?
Having B-Livs fucking narrate.
Such monotone this world has never endured.
TL;DR Suprisingly fun and frivolous, Savages is weighed down by a bloated runtime (over 2 hours. No) and forced emotions. 3 out of 5 stars.
Blake Lively’s “I’m suffering from excruciating withdrawal” face is identical to her “I need to fart but I can’t because I’m in public” face. Don’t give the girl a range she can’t handle. Which is, you know, any range.
So the plot is your typical drug/crime movie thing. Except some of the characters are hot and young, and the cartel leader is a woman. Blake, TayTay and Aaron “Kickass” Johnson are hip, young weed lords in sunny California. Things get sticky when Salma Hayek’s Mexican gang, enforced by a relentless Benicio Del Toro, want to move in on their territory. Our 3 kids try to flee, so Salma kidnaps Blake and holds her as insurance that the boys will do what she wants. Naturally, our heroes work to undermine Salma and get their fucktoy back (oh, they’re in a 3-way relationship, btw. And no, there’s no guy-on-guy. Selfish). Something something something drugs, corrupt DEA agents, another drug cartel, more kidnapping. Eventually the boys get Blake back, Salma goes to jail, and Benicio rides into the sunset with the other cartel.
I really was expecting the worst. Admittedly, I’m not well versed on Oliver Stone. I liked Natural Born Killers, but I was under the impression that it was a rare, witty gem in his mostly stone-faced filmography.
So I was expecting a laboriously serious, convoluted crime epic. Luckily, it isn’t. It’s mostly hypercolour sets and guns and sex.
But by the end, the elements don’t really work together anymore. The direction Salma’s character took was pretty disappointing, but what grated on me the most (not surprisingly) was the 3 lead characters.
First of all, a 3-way relationship is just fucking stupid. Just no. It was obviously only included for titillation. They also show a frustrating lack of responsibility for the situation. You’re fucking drug growers/dealers/shippers. You can’t be exactly surprised or indignant when shit happens.
Why I hate this movie:
Aaron even has some thing about how he donates truckloads of his money to impoverished children overseas. Yeah, that doesn’t justify being a fucking drug lord. He’s also a massive pacifist/pussy about everything violence related. Again, Aaron, in case you’ve forgotten: you are a drug lord. And not exactly a modest or quiet one. Idiot.
Blake is almost as bad. She’s just some spoilt little rich bitch who feels sorry for herself when her DRUG LORD boyfriends (plural) have their business moved on. Taylor even says at one point that they (the boys) are the ones at fault for her being in danger. Um, you didn’t force her to slut herself out to 2 DRUG LORDS.
Also, the only drug they deal in is weed. Lame.
Salma is eventually rendered impotent by the boys’ kidnapping of her daughter. This ruins the otherwise hardass bitch boss thing she had going on.
John Travolta’s corrupt DEA agent character doesn’t do a lot, but he does get saddled with a pathetically obvious speech near the end. He’s visiting his wife in the hospital who’s dying of cancer and has some spiel about how what’s happening with the boys and the cartel is not unlike America’s present political climate. Subtle.
The double-crossing gets a bit much near the end. The only character who isn’t screwing someone is Salma.
Emile Hirsch is still not as attractive as he used to be. Seriously, what happened?
Oh, and the ending includes a Breaking Dawn: Part 2-esque fake out where Blake narrates what she thought would happen at the hostage handover. Which involves every character dying awesomely. Then she’s like “Nah” and we find out that the cops showed up and nothing exciting went down at all. Thanks.
Reasons to watch:
Ironically, the character who takes the most personal responsibility is Salma. She cares about the loss of her men, and even small business infringements. Her offer (though cruel) to the boys is essentially peaceful. And although she does frequently order violence and retribution, she appears to take little pleasure in it.
Benicio, conversely, is magically evil. He starts off seeming like a reasonable (though efficient) enforcer, but he later shows himself to be a two-timing, spousal abusing rapist. And he’s the only character who gets away with what he wanted: defection to Salma’s rival cartel. Nice.
The boys aren’t entirely useless when it comes to fighting back. They successfully rob a cash drop of Salma’s. And they manage to get it blamed on one of her executive henchmen, which leads to his execution via immolation. Delightful!
There’s a stereotypical sympathetic gang member who looks after Blake while she’s locked up. Thankfully, Benicio sniffs this out before he can try any heroics and shoots him in the head. Good.
Watching Blake Lively slum around in boring clothes and unflattering make-up made me happy.
As obviously empty as they are, the sex scenes are sufficiently pretty. Enough abs and suggested toplessness for any malcontent.
I had no problems with the action.
Best line goes to Blake. She’s narrating her sexual experiences with TayTay, who, due to suffering some sort of PTSD from Iraq, has aggressive sex to distract himself: “I have orgasms. He has war-gasms.” Divine.
After showing Blake the video of him raping her while she was drugged, Benicio is spat on by Blake. He then casually wipes it off on her hair. Dat practicality.
During their initially cordial dinner, Salma tires of Blake’s idiocy and brings up the point that the boys must love each other more than they love her. Otherwise, why would they be willing to share her? Burn.
Salma’s hair turns out to be a wig. I lol’d.
Oh, and Salma has a fantastic amount of cool chairs to sit and look regal in. I need some more thrones in my house.
Put 3 of the blandest leads known to man aside and enjoy the show from Salma and Benicio. 3 out of 5 stars.