The Savages is a great example of the Hollywood marketing machine going totally wrong. The film and it’s trailer are total polar opposites, which sets the film up for failure. You go into it expecting a funny, outrageous action flick, and instead you get a cunning action romp that has more twists in it than the Nurburgring and is driven by it’s characters, who to be honest, make the film what it is.
The film is about a couple of laid back American boys who discover how to cultivate the perfect bit of weed and are enjoying the good life Laguna Beach with their shared girlfriend Ophelia.
But one day a Mexican cartel takes an interest in their business and wants in on the game, the boys decide to cash up and leave town with Ophelia an lay low on some Indonesian beach for a year or so. The Mexican’s of course realise this and snatch Ophelia, using her as leverage to get the boys to play ball. The trouble is, one of the boys, Chon, is an ex-Navy SEAL with some good ex-SEAL friends, and won’t roll over and play nice.
The real magic of the film is seeing Del Toro play the role of Mexican enforcer in a way that can only be called disturbingly evil, seemingly relishing the opportunities to be sadistic towards his victims. The other standout role is played by Salma Hayek as the slightly on edge, but very focused Cartel head, who ultimately calls the shots and leads the film on it’s fucked up journey.
The film holds itself together very nicely and the creative double ending wraps everything together with a nice little twist. Not bad for a film that is nothing like you expected.
PG Violence, coarse language and sexual references.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read