‘Savages,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


It took a Facebook communiqué from a friend, asking what I thought about “Savages,” for my thoughts to crystallize:

“I was mixed,” I wrote. “Liked the action, thought the acting by the 3 heroes (and the writing for them) kind of sucked.”

Which about sums it up. This film by Oliver Stone, based on a snappy novel by Don Winslow (who cowrote the script with Shane Salerno), springs to life when the action gets cracking – and settles into stoned somnolence when it turns its attention back to its central trio.

The story focuses on the romantic triad of Ophelia (or “O,” as everyone calls her), played with uninviting dimness by Blake Lively; Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a stoner mercenary; and Ben (Aaron Johnson), a genius botanist with do-gooder, nonviolent impulses. They live together, love together – well, not quite the whole polyamorous package because, while Chon and Ben both are boning O, they don’t seem to have eyes for each other.

The point is that this movie shifts into neutral whenever it zooms in the three amigos, living large in Laguna Beach, where Ben’s plant-breeding and Chon’s business acumen have turned Ben’s unique marijuana hybrid into the weed of choice for surfers and businessmen alike in smoke-happy SoCal. It’s a sweet life – until it’s not.

This review continues on my website.

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