Oliver Stone’s Savages: Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em

Good, bad or indifferent, Oliver Stone certainly can’t be ignored. And while that’s true, and I also have to say he’s hardly ever dull.

Stone’s work definitely polarizes people, he rarely inspires middle ground, but I for one have always been a fan, and feel he’s an important filmmaker. 

So now he’s got Savages, which returns Ollie to a familiar subject, drugs, and like Scarface, this one is about the politics of drugs, and the levels of business that are involved in the drug trade. It also involves a love triangle, which should really shake up this Molotov cocktail plenty.


Savages is based on a novel by Don Winslow, and the early buzz on the film is that Stone is headed back to his wilder side, a la Scarface and Natural Born Killers. In Variety’s review of the film, Justin Chang writes, “the disreputable Oliver Stone of old makes a largely welcome reappearance with Savages. The writer-director’s most vibrant (and violent) work in some time is a bracingly sordid saga. This R-rated Universal release bristles with tension.”


For Collider, Stone spoke a lot about the politics of drugs, but first off, he also touched on the loss of film. Although at least one reader disagrees with TG about digital vs. film, Ollie agreed with us when he said, “Film is still, to me, in my opinion, without a doubt, 15 to 20% better than digital. In its range and its blacks, and the depths of its blacks. When you see this movie, if you see it with a good projector, the colors pop, and I love that.”


As Stone also told Collider, “I make a film like this every two years, so every time I come back to it, there’s a new technology going on. We’re moving inexorably to a digital [future]. It’s frankly more consistent and it’s certainly better than film print projection, around the theaters. My protest against digital has been me saying, ‘What’s going to happen to film?’ The result is that Kodak is out of business. That’s a national tragedy. We’ve got to keep making film. I really feel strongly about that. It may be like the baseball card business or the comic book business, and it’ll be antique, but I don’t think it’s going to go away.”