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Visual Hollywood

SAVAGES (2012)
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Release Date: July 6, 2012
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Oliver Stone
Screenwriter: Shane Salerno, Don Winslow, Oliver Stone
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, Demian Bichir
Genre: Thriller
MPAA Rating: R (for strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout)
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STUDIO SYNOPSIS: Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town...until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.

When the merciless head of the BC, Elena (Hayek), and her brutal enforcer, Lado (Del Toro), underestimate the unbreakable bond among these three friends, Ben and Chon—with the reluctant, slippery assistance of a dirty DEA agent (Travolta)—wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.

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Critics speak

SAVAGES (2012)
Visual Review by David the Bruce

Life is idyllic in their Southern California town running a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising...until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.

Savages features multiple themes that recur in Stone's movies: layered power struggles, shifting loyalties, examinations of the best and worst of human nature, explorations of complex family relationships and a compelling look at damaged people, some of whom find their own kind of heroism.

Director: Three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker OLIVER STONE on the set of Savages


Starring: Brutal enforcer Lado (BENICIO DEL TORO) and his boss, Elena (SALMA HAYEK)

Starring: JOHN TRAVOLTA as Dennis

Oliver Stone : "Above all, it is a power move by the Mexican Cartel into the United States to cut in on the independent distributors and producers. In the movie, the Baja Cartel is more interested in volume than the boutique-sized operations. But wherever you have volume versus independent growers, you're going to have a clash. Walmart doesn't want to have competitors."

Elena confronts Lado about the attack

Ben the pacifist, when pushed to the brink, is capable of extreme violence.

Ben and Chon find out O has been kidnapped

Elena, for all her power and lethal detachment, is maternal and lonely.

Elena and O talk about Os love life

O is not a mere party girl. Blake Lively plays the beautiful, warmhearted O—a free spirit who, when kidnapped, proves to have just as much grit and fortitude as the Baja Cartel.

Chon stabs Dennis in the car

Mise en Scene: Lively becomes the voice of Savages, as O narrates the tale, and Stone used the voiceover technique as efficiently and specifically as possible. The director explains: "The idea of O narrating the movie grew naturally from the book, where she tells the story to the reader.”

Mise en Scene: Hayek admits that she enjoyed bossing around Del Toro. She laughs: "It was so much fun to be the jefe—to have these really tough guys work for me and take my orders. To have strong machos like Benicio Del Toro and Demian Bichir work for me, it's like a female fantasy."

Demian Bichir: "I've always believed that human beings have good and bad things about us. We can be amazingly wonderful or terrible. We all have that in our genes, and it's hard to get rid of it; there's a savage in every single human being.”

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