Movie review: ‘Savages’
There are two, maybe three, Oliver Stones: The revisionist historian who drives Washington literalists batty with such lurid re-imaginings as “JFK” and “Nixon,” the straight-ahead mainstream auteur who limns the American experience in such magisterial dramas as “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon,” and the all-to-the-wall hellion who extrudes that same experience through hallucinatory dreamscapes and lurid violence in genre films such as “Natural Born Killers.”
The snap, crackle and pulp of Stone’s rock-and-roll inclinations fuels “Savages,” his big bad boy of an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel. A candy-colored black valentine to titillation, garish brutality and groovy post-fin-de-siecle excess, this ode to cinema’s most exploitative pleasures finds Stone chronicling America’s dark side at its most sun-kissed. Drenched in light and sprawling across the screen in an anamorphic splash of wide-screen extravagance, “Savages” is a B-movie striving for an A-plus, a decadently energetic summer escape with bloody action, bold visuals and bodacious attitude to burn.
For filmgoers who can remember as far back as 2005, “Savages” could be described as the movie “Domino” tried so frenetically to be. With a filmmaker who’s both a storyteller and a stylist at the helm, material that in the earlier film fell victim to fatal incoherence here makes sense – albeit depraved, lightweight sense.
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