The War of Drugs (TM) should be responsible for a steady stream of decent Hollywood produced films. A standard war-on-drugs movie could contain at least some of the following; murder, sex, political intrigue, beautiful South Americans, beautiful Americans, jungles, guns, social commentary, cocaine (only the sexiest drug EVER), glamour and hypocrisy. And yet arguably the most recent successful film to deal with all of that was Traffic back in 2000. “Enter Oliver Stone,” thinks nobody but Oliver Stone.
On paper Savages should, at the very least, be an entertaining thriller. It’s got beautiful Americans in Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson. It has a beautiful South American in Salma Hayek. There’s social commentary, machine guns, murder and sex. And for good measure there’s an over-the-top cameo from John Travolta. What’s not to like?
Well the script for one thing, co-written by Stone. Stone has positioned himself as the last angry man with many of his films, saying the unsayable, challenging the establishment. But too often he just comes off as the kid at school who believes everything is a conspiracy. He’s loud, he’s paranoid and he despises nuance. Here he makes some noise about the violence of the illegal drug trade versus the potential for utopia through a well run, legal business (sticking with marijuana as the drug of choice to avoid muddying the waters). But it’s a well threaded argument and Stone offers nothing new on the issue.
Here the protagonists are O (yes, she’s really called O) and her two lovers and best friends Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Johnson). The three of them have well-lit sex a lot and run a thriving semi-legal business growing weed. O is a spoiled California girl. She’s pretentious and hypocritical and very, VERY annoying. But you feel the film maker doesn’t realize just how annoying she is. When the trio inevitably piss off the wrong people and the two lads must save her you’re left wondering why they would be that bothered.
But despite all that this could have been an alright movie. A three star affair, if it wasn’t for the ending. An ending so dumb, so primary-school-English-essay-stupid that it almost deserves to be seen just so everyone can discuss how idiotic it actually is. It’s not of enough reason to go see it though. A quick read of the wikipedia page should suffice.