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