Savages can be summed up into three words: sex, drugs and violence. Each of these elements are true to form. This is Oliver Stone returning to his dark side, and what we’re left with is a brilliant morally complex drama with anti heros and anti heroines. We have sinister characters here in battle, each a little more disgusting and repulsive than the next. But strangely enough, these characters each have some semblance of a brighter side.
Blake Lively is O, short for Ophelia, a girl who blossoms on the outskirts of the world. She hates institutions, hangs out on the beach and basically is the girlfriend to two childhood friends. Chon and Ben have the closest thing you can have to a homosexual relationship without actually having one. They love each other and make it known. Chon is the angry guy, the war veteran, the muscle. Ben is the peacemaker, the guy who lives by his heart. The guy who travels to other countries and educates orphans with his drug money, seriously. Together, according to O, they are one complete man. And yes, O has sex with both of them.
Ben double majored in Business and Botany from Berkeley. All three live together in Laguna Beach, CA and thrive on the success of growing and selling marijuana. They usually keep it small and clean, until they are propositioned by a well known drug lord of sorts, headed by Salma Hayek’s Elena, to go into business with them. They reject the proposal and Elena’s goons, for lack of a better term, kidnap Ophelia.
Savages is so incredibly unique and meticulous. What we have is an action thriller drama with an insane amount of cultural musings and backhanded depth. Blake Lively is incredible as O. Truthfully, Blake Lively being incredible as any character is surprising, but here she’s a true knockout. Her craft has officially been honed to something so subtle and wonderful, it’s impossible to take your eyes off her.
Savages is horribly violent and maybe not so horribly sexual. There are threesomes and brutal senseless torture scenes, the murdering of children both physically and mentally. This movie is a marvel. It is an incredible and unflinching examination of what happens when you combine sex with violence. Yes, these people truly are savages. But what makes someone cruel? What makes someone in a different relationship less than normal?
This film has so much to say and says it all in such a warped way, which isn’t all that unique. What makes it unique is that here, we have it in the form of an action flick. The brilliance of Savages is that what starts off as an entertaining beach drug drama, turns into something with real character, and eventually transforms over completely into something religious.
If you can get past the first fifteen minutes, where the film struggles to find its footing with dialogue like, “I have orgasms. He has war-gasms,” you’ll be surprised to find something not so brainless with exceptional performances from everyone involved. Stone finally gives us the true definition of good and evil, which is that there are reasons for everything, and it’s really all about perspective. By the time the film ends, one can only be in wonderment of Savages and its need to be relentless.