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Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’ Harpoons Drug War Absurdities

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CHICAGO – Director Oliver Stone sees a controversy, and comments on a controversy, in his own distinctive cinematic style. The new film “Savages” is no exception, taking on the U.S./Mexican marijuana wars, with performances by Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek and John Travolta.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The story of intrigue and kidnapping in the marijuana trade is the surface story, underneath is Stone’s statement on how much energy, law enforcement resources and lives are used up trying to keep a product that people want out of their hands. The endgame on pot prohibition is coming – as John Travolta’s DEA character points out – but before that underground money stream is cut off, people will be tortured, shot, blown up and psychologically ruined, all in the ironic pursuit of providing an outlook altering and wholly available buzz.

Chon (Taylor Kitsch), Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Ophelia (Blake Lively) are living the pure California dream. Their luxurious beachfront home sports all the amenities three twentysomething life drifters could possibly desire. Chon is ex-military, having done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his travels there determined his stateside business – the production of potent marijuana. Ben is the botanist, discovering a pot strain that is high on the high, and their in-demand product becomes the best in California. Ophelia is part of the reward, a rich girl escaping her trappings to love both men.

One of the largest Mexican pot cartels, led by the mysterious Elena (Salma Hayek), wants a piece of the California action, and threatens Chon and Ben to essentially give them part of the business. The two growers refuse, so the cartel kidnaps their precious Ophelia to convince them otherwise. This now becomes a rescue mission, involving Elena’s ruthless enforcer named Lado (Benicio Del Toro) and a hapless Drug Enforcement Agent named Dennis (John Travolta). The war is on, one that no one can win.

“Savages” opens everywhere on July 6th. Featuring Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek and John Travolta. Screenplay by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow and Oliver Stone. Directed by Oliver Stone. Rated “R”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Savages”

Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson
The High Life: Taylor Kitsch (Chon), Blake Lively (Ophelia) and Aaron Johnson (Ben) in ‘Savages’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Savages”

Brandt Hardin's picture

Vote Teapot and Pass it!

I’m anxious to see the director’s adaptation of the novel and his commentary on the trafficking business. The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! This money could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end of drug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles. Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damaged economy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural resources and the tax revenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red! Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it.

WOW WOW's picture


—-MORE ‘authorized’, decades stale capstone demoralization from
Oliver Stone.

Stone surely has the clout to make whatever he wants.

he and Hollywood, nonetheless, have obediently BURIED without a

—-the 200th Anniversary of the Defeat of Napoleonic Globalism at Mosow 1812

——-the 40th Anniversary of the infamous Nixon-MAO handover summit, Peking 1972

————the awesomely relevant —60th Anniversary— of the RED China, Globalism
and EUGENICS ‘uncomfortably’

———————————————KOREAN WAR————————————————

AND! —-the Centennial of the Jeckyl Island pow wow for the establishment of an ILLEGAL,
USURY and debt serf generating ‘FED’.

Seems Stone has moved back into his Wall Street daddy’s apartment where he can sleep
on the couch ——for FREE. . .

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