Sunday, July 8, 2012
Movie Review: Savages
Given the title, Savages, I was expecting Oliver Stone circa Natural Born Killers - super-violent, well-acted and over-the-top. I was disappointed. Savages had its savage moments but they were a number of mediocre moments between them.
O (Blake Lively) whose full name is Ophelia narrates the story. She is in love with two men Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a Iraq and Afghanistan vet who has brought more than a little of the war home with him and Ben (Aaron Johnson) a peace-loving, do-gooder Buddist. Together the men share more than a love for O, they also share one of the most lucrative pot growing business in the country. It's so lucrative and their weed so potent (Ben has dual degrees in business and botany) that it catches the attention of the Mexican drug cartel. Led by Elena (Salma Hayek) and her henchman Lado (Benicio Del Toro), they want to make a deal with the mellow herb-growing duo (or is it trio). Ben wants to work with them. Chon wants to kill them. Of course, Ben's way fails and they kidnap O. So you just know that things are going to end up going down Chon's way.
You know it doesn't bode will for a film when the bad guys are more interesting than the good ones. Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro are riveting whenever they are on screen. I can't say the same for our trio of protagonist. It started with the awful voice-over by O. Blake Lively, bless her heart, had the misfortune of having to read (and it sounded read) some truly terrible voice-over dialogue. Kitsch tried but just didn't deliver on the charisma. He did fare better than Johnson though. I didn't connect with his character or persona at all.
I did several watch checks and so did the people around me. By the time the end came (the real end and not the false one), I was really ready to leave. Really. I had purse in hand and was rummaging for my keys.