Saturday, July 14, 2012

Is Stone's Film Savages Racist?


Oliver Stone's latest epic is the film Savages, set in southern California.  The movie is about two independent marijuana growers based in beautiful Laguna Beach battling a violent Mexican cartel engaging in a hostile takeover attempt.  The film, with generous amounts of graphic violence, is not likely to calm anyone's concerns about the drug wars along the U.S./Mexico border.

It seems fair to say that the film is receiving decidely mixed, if not more negative than not, reviews.  An informative New Republic review can be found here.

One reviewer considers the film to "racially insensitive" as well as one of Stone's worst. I have seen the film and can say that it seems as if no person of Mexican ancestry -- at least who is not killed -- is positively depicted; at the same time, none of the main characters are without serious flaws.  However, the violent "muscle" for the American pot growers (Taylor Kitsch) is portrayed in a much more heroic light (a la Chuck Norris) than his cartel counterpart (Benicio del Toro) who is reminiscent of Tony Montana (Al Pacino) in the iconic Scarface.



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