Yes, please. And right now.
Don Winslow is the real deal, as great a crime writer as we have working, and his books are a rich vein of material that Hollywood seems to be slowly but surely developing. “Savages,” directed by Oliver Stone, looks to be the highest profile Winslow adaptation to make it to the screen so far, and based on this morning’s trailer, I think Winslow’s about to get a whooooole lot hotter.
Ben and Chon, played by Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch, are in the drug business, and they make a spectacular living at it. Ben’s the expert, the guy who can grow the very best marijuana, and Chon is the guy who will destroy anyone who messes with Ben. They get rich fast, and they seem to have the perfect set-up. They even share their girlfriend, the uber-lovely O (Blake Lively), and it looks like the recipe for a perfect, happy life.
The trouble is that any time you’re that successful, you’re going to draw attention from people who want some piece of that success. You might catch the attention of a corrupt federal agent (John Travolta), or you might catch the attention of a Mexican drug cartel headed by a ruthless killer (Salma Heyek), and once you do, those people aren’t just going to step back out of your life because that’s what you want.
Don Winslow adapted the script with Shane Salerno, and then Oliver Stone pumped this up into the movie that is coming out in July, and right away, I’m excited by what we see here. This looks like rowdy, raunchy grown-up fun, a feel-bad hit just waiting to explode. I love movies where shit goes wrong for a few hours and our main characters just react and try to keep their heads above water, and this looks like it’s got a real sense of velocity.
It looks like an old school Oliver Stone film, with a cast including Emile Hirsch, Uma Thurman, Benicio Del Toro, Mia Maestro, Demian Bichir, and more. I think Aaron Johnson is one of those guys who is one big role away from stardom, and he and Taylor Kitsch both look like they threw themselves into the roles whole-heartedly.
Will it work? I don’t know. I hope so. And this is a very promising first look at one of this summer’s few films aimed exclusively at grown-ups. I hope it’s good, and if it is, then I hope it’s a hit, precisely because it would be nice to send the message to studios that we’d like original movies for adults during the summer, too.