- Film Festival
Members of the Philadelphia Film Society packed into Ritz East yesterday evening to get a sneak preview of SAVAGES, the latest film from director Oliver Stone. This film will not be released to the public until later this week, but already seems to be stirring much attraction. There was not an empty seat in the theatre, and this film provoked the crowd to laugh, cover their eyes, and gasp all at the same time.
A lot has been written and reported in recent years about the growing drug cartel between America and Mexico. Drug trafficking, especially by the American border, has been making countless headlines—many murders, kidnappings, hostages—that all spiral out of control starting with this dirty drug business. SAVAGES wishes to stick its nose into the ins and outs of the drug business while Stone give us his take on just how crazy things can spiral out of control when you get mixed up with the wrong crowd.
Stone, with no fear of depicting the melodramatic nature of drugs, sex, and violence, provides a very sleek and sexy image that moves between Laguna Beach down to Tijuana. We see how the lives of America and Mexico’s biggest drug players get all tangled up in one giant mess. How could life go wrong for America’s largest Marijuana growers and distributors, Ben and Chon (played by Aaron Johnson, Kick Ass and Taylor Kitsch, Battleship ? Two studs, who have struck their luck in the drug business, running a multi-million dollar corporation before their thirties, not to mention, they share Blake Lively (Green Lantern) as their mutual girlfriend. Well, let’s just say, everything goes wrong.
Stone's unique directorial eye (that hasn't gotten much of a workout since the 90's - let's be honest) is in full effect - SAVAGES moves between a black and white image to a super saturated image, suggestive of this thin line between life and death in the film, also inherent in the drug business. The overabundance of color represents how opulent the drug dealing life can be only to be cut by the black and white image that shows how even in the face of great success, this rich lifestyle can be cut short to a quick death at any moment.
Blake Lively narrates the film; she goes on about how this story might play out, how she wished it turned out, and then also how things turned out in reality. Her name in the film is Ophelia - O, for short. At the beginning of the film, she says this story might just end with her dead at the bottom of the ocean, just like the other iconic Ophelia of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Oliver Stone, who has a knack for doing things very much his own way, may be using the drug business to create his own Hamlet or at the very least, point to the drug business as our greatest theatrical tragedy in the modern era.
Directed by Oliver Stone
Written by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, and Oliver Stone
Based on the novel by Don Winslow
Featuring Blake Lively as O, Taylor Kitsch as Chon, Aaron Johnson as Ben, Benecio del Toro as Lado, John Travolta as Dennis, and Salma Hayek as Elena