What keeps “Savages” from total success is an oppressive voice-over by Lively that is laden with cheesy portent and mixed-bag literary references that seem too worldly for the character — it feels as tacked on as Harrison Ford's postproduction “Blade Runner” narration. And then Stone deploys the aforementioned plot switcheroo at the climax: viewers who have seen either version of “Funny Games” will recognize the technique as a variation on what Michael Haneke did in those films, and identify it as a big-time cop-out.
But beyond these problems, “Savages” is a nasty and surprisingly effective ride most notable for its off-the-charts pulp-style acting, including Hayek's imperious Elena and memorably sleazy turns by Del Toro and Travolta. “Savages” is raw, but thanks to these fully invested performances, it's a psycho killer.
— George Lang
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(Strong brutal and grisly violence, some graphic sexuality, nudity, drug use and language throughout)
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Starring: Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Demian Bichir, Benicio Del Toro.