Savages 2012

Critics score:
51 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: After a decade or so of suppressing his more lurid instincts, Oliver Stone is back in the bat-crap-crazy mode that made his Oscar-winning rap-sheet rep. Read more

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies: Frustration turned to irritation by the time the thoroughly anti-climactic, can't-make-up-its-mind denouement finally rolls around. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: "Savages" is a daylight noir, a western, a stoner buddy movie and a love story, which is to say that it is a bit of a mess. But also a lot of fun, especially as its pulp elements rub up against some gritty geopolitical and economic themes. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: These are neither good people nor interesting savages, and they're not worth caring about. Neither is the movie. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The movie's great surprise, and delight, is Salma Hayek's Elena, a svelte monster with a Cleopatra haircut who runs the cartel. Read more

Tom Keogh, Seattle Times: "Savages" is never quite one thing or another. Read more

Alison Willmore, AV Club: Savages is a bright, messy smear of a movie adapted from Don Winslow's novel of the same name, one that's violent, sultry, and entertainingly sleazy while falling short of the satirical edge the material necessitates. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: While making such movies as "JFK" and "Natural Born Killers," Stone seemed fearless, both in what he put on screen and how he put it there. A lot of that spirit returns here. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: A stylish, violent, hallucinatory thriller with both a mean streak and a devilish sense of humor. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The real schism here, however, is between the brainless fun of the action plot and Stone's cheap exploitation of the cartels' real-life sadism. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: "Savages" has trouble making us care what happens to the beautiful people - the untouchables - at the center of the sun-baked fairy tale. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Savages isn't about anything except flashily directed mayhem. In this nest of vipers, it's the slitheriest varieties that survive -- at least for a time. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Savages points to a problem with gifted directors, which Stone is, like him or not: They can make a movie that aggravates, infuriates, falters even, but they can really make a movie. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: "Savages" makes you wonder where Stone, that most pointed of directors, is going. And then it never gets there, backing off at the last minute. As such, it is literally a brutal disappointment. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Savages is Oliver Stone doing what he should have done a long time ago: making a tricky, amoral, down-and-dirty crime thriller that's blessedly free of any social, topical, or political relevance. Read more

Eric D. Snider, Hayek strikes the right balance between thinking too hard about the story's inherent nonsense and sitting back and enjoying the ride. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: Savages represents at least a partial resurrection of [Stone's] more hallucinatory, violent, sexual and, in a word, savage side. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: You might not think that a motion picture called "Savages" could be too violent, too savage, but you would be wrong. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: With "Savages," Stone gets his mojo back and pulp-fiction fans are all the better for it. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: The superb craftsmanship and care behind Savages only helps to underscore what an asinine, unconvincing picture this is. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: The film would have been so much more interesting if the two men had been identical twins played by the same actor-like Jeremy Irons in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: "Savages" is a juvenile fantasy of bullets, breasts and bongs -- not such a bad thing, if Stone would just admit it and stop staging the film as a profound ethical wrestling match. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: Stone devotes considerable ingenuity to making atrocity appear as a terrifying kind of home movie, but "Savages" is no more than a summertime debauch. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: The occasionally sharp tone of Don Winslow's original novel has been lost, and the film's ending isn't much more than a joke. Read more

Mark Jenkins, NPR: The playful way Stone flips the mood demonstrates a command of the material he hasn't shown in more than a decade. Read more

David Edelstein, NPR: Stone has evolved in the past decade and a half, and the new film has a deeper, more complicated perspective. The violence isn't a kick. It's horrifying, senseless. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Working from a novel by Don Winslow, Stone's landscape of corrupt innocents is beautifully nuanced, allowing every character, no matter how drug-war-weary, a chance to be shell-shocked. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: This Elmore Leonard-style noir about lowlifes versus dirtbags is nasty, vicious fun. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: I thought Stone was redoing Truffaut's Jules and Jim: two guys and a girl, love pulling them every which way. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Doesn't break much new ground in the genre but offers a volatile concoction of violence, heroism, and amorality that is compulsively watchable. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: A return to form for Stone's dark side, "Savages" generates ruthless energy and some, but not too much, humor. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Savages" is enjoyable in a way that's almost but not quite intentional camp; it's like eating a dinner made by a seven-year-old, with cake for every course, interspersed with Jell-O, Pepperidge Farm goldfish and chocolate sprinkles. Read more

Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle: Complain as loudly as you like about Oliver Stone - his politics, posturing and relationship with the facts - but until now he hasn't directed a film that's flat-out dull. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: "Savages" is an enjoyably gratuitous romp, but with something to say. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: After decades of digging beneath the surface, Stone understands the synthesis of good and evil in a way that weekend savages cannot. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: It all feels more like flexing atrophied muscles rather than creating a believable experience. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: The climax smacks of either screenwriter desperation, directorial indecision, or "this worked in the book." Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: It all smacks of trying too hard to mask the absence of strong material. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: When John Travolta and Benicio Del Toro show up for extended, cartoonish dialogues, you'll wonder what year it is, and let out a sigh of relief that the moment is long gone. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: How did this film end up with such a muddled story? Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: While Savages aims for provocative and dynamic, it comes off as predictable and strained. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: The disreputable Oliver Stone of old makes a largely welcome reappearance. Read more

Karina Longworth, Village Voice: More than two hours long -- and building to two endings, one romantic-tragic and one quasi-ironic and romantic-ludicrous -- Savages is bloated with plot and exposition... Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: The film is impressive. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: A candy-colored black valentine to titillation, garish brutality and groovy post-fin-de-siecle excess, this ode to cinema's most exploitative pleasures finds Stone chronicling America's dark side at its most sun-kissed. Read more