Savages : Movie Review

If one were to be unfamiliar with Oliver Stone's directorial career as a whole and concentrate only on the last ten years, he would have no finite identity and, if anything, might even be labeled something of a hack. 2004's campy hatchet job "Alexander," 2006's painfully mawkish "World Trade Center," 2008's forgettable biopic "W.," and 2010's distaff sequel "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" read like an ongoing exercise in spineless ambition. Watch any of these films and the only thing they will lead a viewer to wonder is what happened to the radicalized, trailblazing filmmaker responsible for modern classics such as 1986's "Platoon," 1989's "Born on the Fourth of July," 1991's "JFK," and 1994's "Natural Born Killers." Stone's latest picture, a seedy, drug-fueled thriller called "Savages," is a step in the right direction insomuch that it does have the mood and feel of the auteur's most iconic work (its closest cousin would probably be 1997's underappreciated "U-Turn"). Adapted from the much-acclaimed 2010 novel by Don Winslow, who co-writes the screenplay with Shane Salerno (2007's "Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem") and Stone himself, the film must streamline character development and subplots to fit a workable running time—this is expected and understandable—but what's left lacks the vicious bite this sordid tale of blackmail, revenge and murder deserves.

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Author : Dustin Putman