Tag Archives: Savages

A Week In Film #252: SHELVED

Savages title screen

Savages
Potentially excellent, objectively underwhelming tale of two American friends who make it big as weed magnates, but who fall foul of the big boys (led by A WOMAN omglolfml) south of the border.

Struck me as a Yankee version of Layer Cake but built around the oh-so-fashionable poly relationship of rich Californian stoner girl Blake Lively to the yin/yang bromantics Taylor Kitsch (psycho ex-Navy SEAL) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (touchy-feely philanthropist). Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek get to be all dangerous hispanic drug gangsters and shit. John Travolta hams it up as a DEA agent. The daugther/surrogate daughter subplot is not properly exploited. There’s extreme on-screen violence. There’s unreliable narration. It looks kind of pretty. It’s directed by Oliver Stone. Next!

Drug Wars: The Camarena Story title screen

Drug Wars: The Camarena Story
TV movie based on the real life kidnapping, torture and murder of American DEA agent Enrique ‘Kike’ Camarena after he pissed off too many well-connected Mexican drug barons, this is something of a stodgy hodgepodge.

This may not entirely be the fault of director Brian Gibson (whose curate’s egg resumé includes fact-diddling-but-gripping Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It, Hazel O’Connor vehicle Breaking Glass and past-it rockers reunite comedy-drama Still Crazy), as he originally helmed a four hour-long mini-series. Presumably the 110 minutes trimmed from the version I saw contained all the characterisation and artistry – leaving oddly short scenes bursting with exposition and Michael Mann-style (he produced it) meaningful looks and little else.

Anyway, interesting story, interesting cast (Steven Buer, Craig T Nelson, Benicio del Toro, Treat Williams, Jose Ferrer, Tony Plana, a massively under-utilised Elizabeth Peña), somewhat flat execution (pardon the pun).