Savages Reviews

David Thomson
The New Republic
Top Critic
June 17, 2013

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.

Tom Huddleston
Time Out
Top Critic
September 18, 2012

It all smacks of trying too hard to mask the absence of strong material.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
David Denby
New Yorker
Top Critic
July 23, 2012

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

Rex Reed
New York Observer
Top Critic
July 12, 2012

These are neither good people nor interesting savages, and they're not worth caring about. Neither is the movie.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

The movie's great surprise, and delight, is Salma Hayek's Elena, a svelte monster with a Cleopatra haircut who runs the cartel.

David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

The film is impressive.

J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

David Edelstein
NPR
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Kyle Smith
New York Post
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

This Elmore Leonard-style noir about lowlifes versus dirtbags is nasty, vicious fun.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Tom Long
Detroit News
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

"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.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

It all feels more like flexing atrophied muscles rather than creating a believable experience.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
Top Critic
July 6, 2012

"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.

Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 0/4
Claudia Puig
USA Today
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

While Savages aims for provocative and dynamic, it comes off as predictable and strained.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

You might not think that a motion picture called "Savages" could be too violent, too savage, but you would be wrong.

Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

How did this film end up with such a muddled story?

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Mark Jenkins
NPR
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

The playful way Stone flips the mood demonstrates a command of the material he hasn't shown in more than a decade.

Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

"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.

Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

A stylish, violent, hallucinatory thriller with both a mean streak and a devilish sense of humor.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Eric D. Snider
Film.com
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

Hayek strikes the right balance between thinking too hard about the story's inherent nonsense and sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Full Review | Original Score: B
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

The climax smacks of either screenwriter desperation, directorial indecision, or "this worked in the book."

Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

"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.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: B+
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

"Savages" is never quite one thing or another.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Alison Willmore
AV Club
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: B-
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

A return to form for Stone's dark side, "Savages" generates ruthless energy and some, but not too much, humor.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic
July 5, 2012

"Savages" has trouble making us care what happens to the beautiful people - the untouchables - at the center of the sun-baked fairy tale.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic
July 4, 2012

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

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Karina Longworth
Village Voice
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

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...

Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

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.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

With "Savages," Stone gets his mojo back and pulp-fiction fans are all the better for it.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

The superb craftsmanship and care behind Savages only helps to underscore what an asinine, unconvincing picture this is.

Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Glenn Kenny
MSN Movies
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

Frustration turned to irritation by the time the thoroughly anti-climactic, can't-make-up-its-mind dénouement finally rolls around.

Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic
July 3, 2012

After decades of digging beneath the surface, Stone understands the synthesis of good and evil in a way that weekend savages cannot.

Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Christy Lemire
Associated Press
Top Critic
July 2, 2012

"Savages" is an enjoyably gratuitous romp, but with something to say.

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Justin Chang
Variety
Top Critic
June 29, 2012

The disreputable Oliver Stone of old makes a largely welcome reappearance.

Todd McCarthy
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic
June 28, 2012

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