Commentary

July 20, 2012

In theaters

Fly Over: ‘Savages’

by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter

In “Savages,” legendary filmmaker Oliver Stone has created a devastating American masterpiece of epic proportions. Based on the novel of the same name by Don Winslow and with a crackling screenplay co-written by Stone, Winslow and Shane Salerno, “Savages” is a seminal movie on what U.S./Mexican relations have pivoted on in the 21st Century: the drug trade.

The brutally violent bloodbath of a roller-coaster ride screams along at a blistering pace for the two hour, 10 minute run time.

Part “Traffic,” part “Natural Born Killers,” this is the story of two men fighting a ruthless Mexican drug cartel for the woman they both love.

The men are Ben (Aaron Johnson), a Berkley graduate who specializes in growing high-grade marijuana, and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL. The longtime friends live in Laguna Beach, where they inexplicably share a girlfriend, Ophelia (Blake Lively), a beautiful blonde from Orange County with rich, absent parents. Despite the unlikely arrangement, the three seem to have a happy, albeit unconventional, relationship.

Ben is a peace-loving philanthropist who uses the proceeds from their drug business to pursue renewable energy resources in third-world countries. Ophelia, who narrates the film in voiceover, says Ben had taken 99 percent of the violence out of the drug trade. The hot-headed but cool-under-pressure Chon was responsible for the remaining 1 percent.

With aims of getting out of the drug business, the men rebuff an offer to join forces with the Baja Cartel, which controlled much of the drug trade south of the border. The Mexicans, however, don’t take no for an answer, and thugs kidnap Ophelia in an attempt to force the men to comply with their demands.

The Baja Cartel is controlled by a woman named Elena (a steely-eyed Salma Hayek), whose husband and sons had been killed years before by a rival cartel. Elena runs Baja with an iron fist, and her chief enforcer is a ruthless sociopath, Lado (Benicio Del Toro).

The Puerto Rican-born Del Toro, 45, is a tour de force and should be nominated for best supporting actor for this shattering, powerhouse performance. When a fellow cartel member (Demian Bichir) is suspected of colluding with a rival organization, Lado orchestrates a retaliation that makes the torture scene in “Reservoir Dogs” look as tame as the latest Kate Hudson romantic comedy.

As Ben and Chon try to devise a way to recapture Ophelia from the cartel, they regularly meet with a corrupt DEA agent, Dennis (John Travolta, who delivers a brilliant performance in this small role). Without offering any spoilers, what follows next is a wild ride of explosions, drugs and violence. The moral, as Clint Eastwood said about his 1992 Western “Unforgiven,” is the concern with gunplay.

The film is shot beautifully, often lingering over Laguna Beach, with seagulls hovering on the wind, waves crashing into the shore, and hundreds of boats lined up neatly in the harbor.

“Savages” is Oliver Stone at his best. If you can handle it, don’t miss it.

“Savages” is a hard R, for violence, sex, nudity, language and drug use. Not for the faint of heart.



About the Author

Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Tristan Hinderliter is a full-time Public Affairs Officer and part-time pop culture critic. When he's not listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast, he's usually watching movies. His favorite directors include David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Alexander Payne.


All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

MWD Roy — partner, friend passes

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and Roy, 56th SFS MWD, play Dec. 14, 2012, at the at Luke Air Force Base kennels. The MWD and handler team plays to...
 
 

46 graduate ALS in class 15-1

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 45 senior airmen and one staff sergeant Dec. 11 from class 15-1. The graduates are senior airmen unless otherwise noted. John L. Levitow award: Nathaniel Gladney, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Distinguished graduates: Matthew Goodspeed, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Russell Hires, 56th Medical Support Squadron; James Gilmore, 56t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin