The Sexy Action Thriller On Netflix Where Oliver Stone Lost His Grip On Moviemaking

By Steven Nelson | Published

savages oliver stone

Ah, Savages—Oliver Stone’s sun-soaked, cartel-infused foray into a modern crime drama. Now streaming on Netflix, this film is a vivid reminder that even the most seasoned directors can sometimes miss the mark. Not to say it’s entirely without its merits; there’s a level of raw energy here that is distinctly Stone. 

Oliver Stone directed 2012s Savages now streaming on Netflix

But if you’re expecting another Platoon or Wall Street, temper those expectations. Instead, prepare for a wild ride that’s as unpredictable as its title suggests, and remember: every great director has their… let’s call it “experimental phase.” Dive in and decide for yourself!

Oliver Stone’s Savages takes us deep into the sunlit world of Southern California’s marijuana business. Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is an idealistic botanist who believes in using the profits from his high-quality weed to fund charitable projects in Africa. 

savages oliver stone

His partner in crime and best friend, Chon (Taylor Kitsch), is a former Navy SEAL, providing the muscle behind their operations. The duo not only share the business but also a mutual romantic relationship with the free-spirited Ophelia, affectionately called “O” (Blake Lively).

Things take a dark turn when a Mexican drug cartel, led by the merciless Elena (Salma Hayek) and her enforcer, Lado (Benicio Del Toro), wants a piece of their lucrative business. To force their cooperation, the cartel kidnaps O, thrusting Ben and Chon into a high-stakes game where they must use all their wits and resources to outsmart and overpower a cartel that vastly outnumbers and outguns them. 

Oliver Stone’s Savages stars Salma Hayek, Blake Lively, John Travolta, Benicio del Toro, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Taylor Kitsch

As the plot unfolds, the boundaries between savagery and civilization blur, leading to intense confrontations, dubious alliances, and unexpected betrayals. John Travolta also stars as a crooked DEA agent who plays both sides for his benefit. In this high-octane thriller, loyalty and love are pitted against greed and power in a battle where no one is guaranteed to come out unscathed.

Not Oliver Stone’s Best Movie

Oliver Stone, known for his thought-provoking and politically charged films like Platoon, Wall Street, and JFK, has a reputation for taking on challenging narratives and presenting them in unique ways. With Savages, Stone ventured into the world of crime thrillers, a genre that, while not entirely foreign to him, isn’t his typical domain.

Several critics and audiences felt that Savages lacked the depth and nuance present in many of Stone’s earlier works. While the film offers a visually stunning portrayal of Southern California’s drug trade, the storyline occasionally delves into clichés, with character motivations and relationships feeling somewhat underdeveloped at times.

Moreover, Stone’s signature touch of weaving political or social commentary into the narrative seemed less pronounced in Savages, making it feel more like a mainstream Hollywood thriller rather than an Oliver Stone special. Some also argued that the film’s pacing was inconsistent, with certain sections dragging while others felt rushed.

Lastly, with a star-studded cast, there were high expectations for standout performances. While the actors did a commendable job, some critics felt that the characters weren’t fleshed out enough to allow the cast to truly shine. Comparing it to Stone’s rich filmography, Savages may not top the list for many, but it does showcase Stone’s versatility as a filmmaker, even if it doesn’t hit all the high notes of his classic films.

While Savages may not rank among Oliver Stone’s most iconic works, it still carries his distinct touch and flair for storytelling. The movie dives headfirst into the dark and complex world of drug cartels with a visual style that’s undeniably captivating.

Whether you’re in it for the thrilling plot or the complex character dynamics, Savages promises a gripping viewing experience, now easily accessible on Netflix. So, if you’re up for a gritty crime drama, give it a shot and decide for yourself where it stands in the grand spectrum of Oliver Stone creations.