Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oliver Stone: Savages

Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, Savages, Universal Pictures, 2012.

Reasons to dislike the new Oliver Stone film, a minor work in his canon and my least favorite of all his 19 narrative features:

- a terrible script rife with structural flaws and unintentionally funny dialogue

- boring, unbelievable protagonists

- several offensively disgusting sequences which are sadistic, seeming to relish realistic violence for the sake of entertainment

- alarming shifts in tone that are a result of a poor script and a cast and director attempting to assemble some sort of story from it

- a truly bad ending

Reasons to like the new Oliver Stone film, a flawed action-thriller so stuffed full of intentions that Stone's grasp of the messy proceedings still produces a fascinating, campy piece of pulp which works more as symbolic social satire than anything resembling reality or even a movie portraying reality. Although, as a Stone film, it is his most problematic, lacking the kitsch historical epic of Alexander, the acute moral conscience and heart of World Trade Center, the brilliantly corrosive purposeful satire of W., or even the cohesion, however wispy, of his heretofore weakest work, the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps:

- raw, deep, gorgeous camera work by Daniel Mindel

- fascinating, over the top creepy antagonists

- numerous brilliantly executed set pieces

- an interesting score by new composer Adam Peters

-  hypnotic performance by Benicio Del Toro, movie villain of the year?

Even Oliver Stone's worst movie is far better than the animated, comedy, horror, and super hero "movies" littering a theater near P.U.

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