It’s rare we really get to see an insider’s view of the underground world of drug-related violence, aside from briefly on the news and of course in movies like Blow. And we always imagine the ones who run these types of operations probably lead some sort of outlandish lifestyle. But then there’s always the downside that someone out there is out to get these people for their money, for their product, for their idea. In Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben’s (Aaron Johnston) case, it’s not really about the money though, at least at first. It’s about their connections (the weed they independently grow and distribute is some of the best in the world).
In Oliver Stone’s latest film Savages you learn the story of an entrepreneurial fairy tale turned corrupt. When high-end members of the Mexican cartel (Salma Hayek playing the head haunch Elena) start making certain demands the two guys aren’t willing to comply with, things turn brutal and lead to the eventual kidnapping of the two’s shared love, O (Blake Lively), and Chon and Ben must do whatever it takes to get her back.
Visually the film speaks volumes, but as far as dialogue and the overall narrative goes, it definitely felt like there could have been more “umph” so to speak. Not to mention it’s sort of hard to take John Travolta’s role seriously (we found the audience laughing a lot). Aside from that, Stone definitely captures the dark side of the seemingly effortless operations of running a business revolving around one of the highest products in demand throughout the entire world.
In Savages you see the good side of owning a million dollar marijuana operation: how when things are running smoothly and business is booming, life seems perfect (being millionaires living on Laguna Beach, how could it not?), and you see the god awful: when the cartel doesn’t get what they want, they will go to extreme measures to get their way (if you’ve read anything about the cartel, then you have somewhat of an idea). But don’t expect to be particularly amazed by the narrative.
(photo via Beyond Hollywood)