Ah, Savages—a film that promised so much, yet, for many, delivered so little. Oliver Stone, a director renowned for his gripping and politically charged narratives, took a bold step into the sunlit, dangerous world of Southern California’s marijuana business with this 2012 action thriller. Now available on Netflix, Savages offers a blend of raw energy and a star-studded cast, yet it somehow fails to hit the mark that Stone’s previous films have so effortlessly achieved.
Despite its vibrant visuals and a plot that promises high-stakes drama, Savages has been critiqued for lacking the depth and nuance that fans have come to expect from an Oliver Stone film. While it certainly doesn’t lack in action and complex dynamics, the film arguably falls short in delivering a cohesive and impactful narrative, especially when compared to Stone’s earlier works.
A Star-Studded Cast with Unmet Potential
The Intricate Web of Relationships and Crime
Savages introduces us to Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), an idealistic botanist, and his best friend, Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL. The duo, who not only share a business but also a romantic relationship with Ophelia, aka “O” (Blake Lively), find themselves plunged into a dark and perilous journey when a Mexican drug cartel, led by the ruthless Elena (Salma Hayek), sets its sights on their prosperous marijuana business. The plot thickens and darkens as the cartel kidnaps O, forcing Ben and Chon into a dangerous game of wit and retaliation against a formidable enemy.
Stellar Performances Amidst a Scattered Plot
With a cast boasting names like Salma Hayek, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Benicio del Toro, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Taylor Kitsch, expectations were naturally sky-high. While the performances were commendable, critics argue that underdeveloped characters and a somewhat scattered plot failed to provide a platform for the cast to truly shine. The actors navigated through intense confrontations, dubious alliances, and unexpected betrayals, yet the film’s potential remained only partially realised.
Where Savages Loses Its Grip
Diving into Clichés and Underdeveloped Narratives
Oliver Stone, celebrated for his ability to weave political and social commentary into his narratives, seemingly steps back from his signature style with Savages. The film, while visually stunning and offering a glimpse into the dark underworld of drug cartels, occasionally succumbs to clichés and presents character motivations and relationships that feel somewhat superficial and underdeveloped at times.
Inconsistent Pacing and Lack of Depth
Critics and audiences alike have pointed out that Savages struggles with inconsistent pacing, with certain sections of the film dragging and others feeling rushed. Furthermore, despite its action-packed plot and complex character dynamics, the film lacks the depth and insightful commentary that typically sets Stone’s work apart from mainstream Hollywood thrillers.
Stone’s Experimental Phase
Venturing into New Terrains
With Savages, Stone ventured into the realm of crime thrillers, a genre that, while not entirely alien to him, isn’t his typical domain. The film, despite its shortcomings, does showcase Stone’s versatility as a filmmaker, offering a narrative that is distinctly different from his previous works.
A Reminder of the Director’s Range
While it may not rank among Oliver Stone’s most iconic works, Savages still carries his distinct touch and flair for storytelling. It serves as a reminder that even the most seasoned directors can have their experimental phases, exploring new narratives and genres, and not always with the same level of success.
Final Thoughts on this Oliver Stone action thriller on Netflix
Savages, despite its criticisms, promises a gripping viewing experience, now easily accessible on Netflix. It thrusts audiences into a dark and complex world, where loyalty and love are pitted against greed and power, offering a visual style that’s undeniably captivating. Whether you’re in it for the thrilling plot or the complex character dynamics, Savages promises a rollercoaster of emotions and action.
In the grand spectrum of Oliver Stone creations, Savages may not stand out as his best work, but it does provide a unique viewing experience, showcasing Stone’s ability to navigate different genres and narratives. It serves as a testament to his versatility, even if it doesn’t hit all the high notes of his classic films. So, if you’re up for a gritty crime drama, give Savages a shot and decide for yourself where it stands in the illustrious director’s filmography.
What do you make of this news? Are you going to watch Oliver Stone’s action thriller, Savages, on Netflix?
You can stream Savages on Netflix right now.