In California, the former Navy SEAL Chon and his best friend, the peaceful botanist Ben, are successful entrepreneurs producing and dealing high-quality weed. Chon brought seeds from Afghanistan and Ben used his knowledge to develop the best marijuana in the country. Chon and Ben share the pothead lover Ophelia and she loves both of them since they complete each other - Chon is a powerful and strong lover and Ben is a sensible and loving lover. Their comfortable life changes when the Mexican Baja Cartel demands a partnership in their business. Chon and Ben refuse the deal and the leader of the cartel Elena sends her right-arm in America, Lado, to abduct Ophelia to press the American drug dealers. Chon and Ben ask the support of the dirty DEA Agent Dennis and get inside information to begin a secret war against the Baja Cartel to release Ophelia. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
For legal reasons, all the marijuana plants in the film are artificial. The production designers visited legal medical marijuana growers to get the details right. See more »
When O is e-mailing her mother about Paris, we first see the headphone remote/volume control knob on her right, but in the next scene it is on her left. See more »
Just because I'm telling you this story doesn't mean I'm alive at the end of it. This could all be pre-recorded and I could be talking to you from the bottom of the ocean. Yeah, it's that kind of a story. Because things just got so out of control.
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A competent film, but not nearly among Stone's best ones
Oliver Stone is one of my favorite directors, and I think his best creative period was during the '90s, when he made such memorable films as Natural Born Killers, JFK and The Doors. In those movies, Stone saturated our senses while hypnotizing us with intense narratives of an imposing strength. His most recent film, Savages, isn't nearly among his best ones, but I found it entertaining and worthy of a moderate recommendation.
Savages is a "sweaty noir" with modest narrative aspirations and few interest in transmitting some social message, or in satirizing the portrayed situations. Sure, I would have preferred something as deep as Born on the Fourth of July, or as over the top as Any Given Sunday...but anyway, Savages managed to keep me entertained, mainly because of Stone's exuberant and febrile style. I also have to say that Savages shouldn't be taken as a realistic tale, because even though it deals with the brutal effects of "narc-wars", it doesn't pretend to be a hippie version of Traffic, but a stylized psychedelic fable with too many coincidences and dramatic affectations in order to be taken seriously. The "heroes" aren't good; they are just less evil than the villains; and their destiny is only guided by the whims from the screenplay, as we can see during that double ending which looks like a bad joke.
However, I think the weakest element from Savages is Blake Lively's poor performance. She's completely incapable of displaying honest emotions, so she isn't credible at all, and she doesn't inspire any interest in her character. Fortunately, the rest of the actors makes a good work. Benicio del Toro is genuinely frightening as the hit-man Lado, because of all the evilness he's able to transmit just with his look. John Travolta is perfect as a corrupt D.E.A. agent who is incapable of controlling a situation he himself created. And I surprisingly liked Taylor Kitsch's performance; I had previously never swallowed this actor, but his work in Savages is solid, and he also has a good chemistry with Aaron Johnson.
Going back to negative elements from Savages, the screenplay presents some problems of logic and structure (this film is based on a novel, so the reason of those problems could be because of an excessively condensed and superficial adaptation). Nevertheless, I think Savages is a competent film, and I can moderately recommend it mainly because of Stone's direction and the performances (with the exception of Lively's).
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