July 11th, 2012

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Savages

Alas, the AMC Harvard Square is no more. So as of last night, Somerville Theater now holds the distinction of being my home theater. That is to say, the one closest to me (even though 3 T stops is much less preferable than 10 min walk), that I'll typically go to. Well, technically, there's the Kendall too, but since that's an indie, it doesn't count. It's christening flick was Savages.

I really wasn't sure what to expect. The buzz was kinda mixed. My prior knowledge of Oliver Stone is only our recently discussed Natural Born Killers. So I knew he had the potential for violence and weirdness, both of which the trailer seemed to promise. I was certainly looking forward to the cast as well. Hoping that Taylor "John Carter" Kitsch could redeem himself for some questionable choices he made earlier this year, and excited to see more from Aaron "Kick Ass" Johnson. Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, and John Travolta all added some street cred to the film. And as for Blake Lively, well, at least this isn't Green Lantern.

As I was falling asleep last night, I got a text from a friend commenting on a movie he'd seen that day. I responded with my quick and half sleepy bite sized review of Savages: "Really cool and very messed up. Deliciously violent even. I was completely absorbed. it is a bit stylized and weird, but I dug it." I think my more awake self stands by that statement.

I really can't put my finger on why I was so absorbed in it, but I truly was. In a way that hasn't happened in a while. I'm talking heart pounding, edge of my seat tension at some scenes. Jumping for some unexpected gunshots. Really not sure what was gonna happen. It wasn't that the story was that strong. I'm still a bit fuzzy on some details, and not entirely sold on others. Maybe it was the characters? I did love Ben and Chon, even if I didnt care much for O. Perhaps it was just the feel of the movie? So intense and visceral, no holds barred. Again, deliciously violent.

Of course, one of the most controversial points of the movie is the three-way relationship between Ben, Chon, and O. I had trouble buying into it. It's not that I'm being a prude or think O is a slut or anything like that. It just seemed a bit too convenient for the story, and it also seemed too easy for them. I think what was hardest for me to believe is that there really would be ZERO jealousy between the guys. Part of it is also that I didnt really like O to begin with. I'm not a Blake Lively fan (though I do think she was fantastic in The Town), and her flower child character came off as too spoiled and whiney for me to sympathize with her. If anything, I was jealous of her and did not think she fully appreciated what she had (kidnapping notwithstanding). But the devotion the guys had was intense, and that I could believe. There was one particularly powerful scene when they first converse with the drug lord after O is taken. That's one of those intense moments I'd alluded to earlier.

I really liked Salma Hayek as the big bad. I dont think we've seen that side of her before, or at least not to that extent. What amused me was how all the baddies kept on calling her "Madrina" which means godmother. It took me about half the movie to get that "ooooooooohhhhhhh" feeling when I realized why that was an appropriate title. I'm slow sometimes. And the boys I was excited for, Kitsch and Johnson, certainly delivered. Those are two incredible characters that are gonna stay with me in my dreams for a while. Again, rather envious of O. Unexpected visit from Emile Hirsch, who is getting to be all kinds of growed up.

Going back to the intensity, I'd forgotten that I'd been hearing talk of a noteworthy ending. All I'll say about that is that I haven't had the rug yanked out from under me so hard in an extremely long time. Took a while to process what was going on. While I'm not sure if I like where things end up, I certainly enjoyed that feeling. 'Cause damn.

Savages - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/