Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 41
  2. Negative: 7 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 5, 2012
    88
    At the confluence of altered states and state-sanctioned violence, this drug-fueled thriller is Stone's most successfully provocative picture since "JFK."
  2. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 4, 2012
    88
    A return to form for Stone's dark side, Savages generates ruthless energy and some, but not too much, humor.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 4, 2012
    83
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 6, 2012
    80
    Stone is generally given to deep thinking -- eternal fates are on the line. Not only does that lend the riveting and intense Savages a certain gravity, but it's also what separates his film from, say, your favorite Guy Ritchie movie. Here, we find an appealing depth amid the appalling violence.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 5, 2012
    80
    The violence is graphic, the dialogue can be awfully arch and the style is often mannered, but this long, dense adventure takes surprising side trips into thoughtfulness, ruefulness, whimsy and romance. It's high-grade entertainment sustained by a buoyant spirit.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 5, 2012
    80
    Stone relies on his leads to guide us into this hyper-charged inferno, and they fit his juiced-up approach like James Woods and Woody Harrelson did in Stone's equally hopped-up "Salvador" and "Natural Born Killers." He gets us high on what they're selling before it goes south.
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 4, 2012
    80
    This is, in fact, one of the more violent movies in recent memory. But Stone doesn't let anyone off easy. Violence has an effect here, has meaning, has relevance to the story. And that's a good thing; otherwise, it would be hard to stomach.
  8. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Jun 29, 2012
    80
    Savages is one of Stone's best movies with a ménage et trois love story giving some human dimension to its three young leads.
  9. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jun 28, 2012
    80
    Savages never quite captures the novel's diamond-hard sarcasm, it offers other satisfactions in its visceral immediacy, its overriding sense of danger and a clutch of performances that, whatever one's reservations about the characters, can't help but court the viewer's emotional investment.
  10. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 6, 2012
    75
    Despite its excesses, Savage" is never unintentionally funny, just gritty and mean. The run time is more than two hours, yet it's also tight: no drag, no waste, no message.
  11. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Jul 5, 2012
    75
    Stone seems to take a little vicarious pleasure in making these relative lightweights squirm in fear and confusion.
  12. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 5, 2012
    75
    Savages is Oliver Stone's strongest work in years - a stylish, violent, hallucinatory thriller with both a mean streak and a devilish sense of humor.
  13. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 4, 2012
    75
    From an acting standpoint, Blake Lively makes a compelling case that she doesn't have what it takes to play this sort of a role; she lacks the chops to carry the elements of the movie in which she is expected to dominate.
  14. 70
    The film is impressive. It has a bit of the cinematic whoop-de-doo of his noxious "Natural Born Killers," in which serial killers became existential heroes, celebrated for attaining absolute freedom.
  15. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 5, 2012
    70
    Savages is enjoyable in a way that's almost but not quite intentional camp; it's like eating a dinner made by a 7-year-old, with cake for every course, interspersed with Jell-O, Pepperidge Farm goldfish and chocolate sprinkles.
  16. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 5, 2012
    70
    Stone is also a director who has often felt that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, and his weakness for bloody excesses of all sorts undermines much of his good work. You might not think that a motion picture called Savages could be too violent, too savage, but you would be wrong.
  17. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jul 5, 2012
    70
    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.
  18. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 5, 2012
    70
    Savages isn't great cinema, but it's a very alive movie about people who probably ought to be dead.
  19. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 28, 2012
    70
    Savages represents at least a partial resurrection of the director's more hallucinatory, violent, sexual and, in a word, savage side.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 6, 2012
    67
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jul 4, 2012
    67
    Like "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "W.," Savages feels like Stone softballing something he should be skewering - in this case, SoCal entitlement and faux-progressive hypocrisy.
  22. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 4, 2012
    67
    There's so much that's so right in Oliver Stone's dizzying new crime thriller that its impediments stick out like speed bumps. You'll know you've hit one when your vertiginous sense of WTF screeches to a manageable – and much duller – pace.
  23. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 3, 2012
    67
    Stone's uneven direction veers from near-amateurish genre antics to an enjoyable awareness of those same standards.
  24. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Jul 5, 2012
    63
    Savages is a B-movie striving for an A-plus, a decadently energetic summer escape with bloody action, bold visuals and bodacious attitude to burn.
  25. Reviewed by: Ken McIntyre
    Sep 1, 2012
    60
    Savages is punishing in places, but there are enough colourful characters and careening twists to make it worth the effort.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 5, 2012
    55
    Stone's moralism, coupled with discreet but bloody beatings, shootouts and all manner of tawdry goings on, rings hollow. The picture is neither entertaining nor preachy – it is simply very loudly meh.
  27. 50
    So why does Savages feel so calculated, cutesy, free of suspense and trashy only in the uninteresting sense? No doubt, Stone is trying... but it all feels more like flexing atrophied muscles rather than creating a believable experience.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 5, 2012
    50
    Savages comes off as director Oliver Stone trying to rekindle his "Natural Born Killers" mojo from 1994. But when the bigger-name stars show up here in cartoonish roles, things feel more silly than gritty.
  29. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 5, 2012
    50
    Who knows if it was Del Toro's idea, or Stone's, but at a particularly crucial - and criminal - moment, as a very bad thing is about to occur, the actor twirls his mustache menacingly, like a Mexican Snidely Whiplash. Yes, Savages is that kind of story.
  30. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jul 5, 2012
    50
    The true schism here, however, is between the brainless fun of the action plot and Stone's cheap exploitation of the cartels' real-life sadism.
  31. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 5, 2012
    50
    It's not as if Stone is above this sort of pulp. But as rejiggered for the movies, Savages has trouble making us care what happens to the beautiful people - the untouchables - at the center of the sun-baked fairy tale.
  32. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Jul 3, 2012
    50
    Soul is something Savages has in short supply, not least because Kitsch and Johnson register as blanks on-screen. In contrast, Hayek and del Toro, both sporting apparently intentionally terrible wigs, give big, scenery-chewing performances and earn our interest and empathy even while committing heinous acts.
  33. Reviewed by: William Thomas
    Sep 17, 2012
    40
    What could have been an effective excoriation of US drug policy and a proper look at the violence inherent in the trade is wasted on a simplistic thriller that offers very little, especially given who is behind the camera. Sorry if that harshes anyone's buzz.
  34. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 3, 2012
    40
    This time, Stone is just sloshing around in the shallow end. 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.
  35. Reviewed by: Jesse Cataldo
    Jul 5, 2012
    38
    While his classic hyperbolic visual style is back in force, Stone can't bother to muster any of his usual righteous anger, instead mischanneling his discontent into a kind of zen acceptance of these perpetually tiresome main characters.
  36. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jul 19, 2012
    30
    If the rest of the movie had been on Travolta's level of sly knowingness, it might have been a hip classic, rather than what it is -- a summertime debauch. [23 July 2012, p. 81]
  37. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 11, 2012
    25
    These are neither good people nor interesting savages, and they're not worth caring about. Neither is the movie.
  38. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 4, 2012
    25
    An amoral mosaic of carnage and carnality.
  39. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 3, 2012
    25
    Aggressively, defiantly stupid.
  40. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Sep 21, 2012
    20
    Sadly, Savages plays up to Stone's worst tendencies: machismo, bombast and self-indulgence, and the factor that could conceivably have made this movie tolerable – humour – is off the menu.
  41. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jul 5, 2012
    0
    So. What part of this is boring? All of it.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 178 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 55
  2. Negative: 16 out of 55
  1. Jul 13, 2012
    0
    Steer clear of this movie - it is terrible. I love action/suspense thrillers and went to see Savages after seeing an overall positive scoreSteer clear of this movie - it is terrible. I love action/suspense thrillers and went to see Savages after seeing an overall positive score for it on Metacritic. I have no idea how Savages got a score of 62 - I would give it a 2 at best. Save your time, brain and money and see something else. Full Review »
  2. Jul 11, 2012
    9
    Oliver Stone is back in ruthless form in this in-depth exploration of the war on drugs, drug dealing, and the inner workings of Mexican drugOliver Stone is back in ruthless form in this in-depth exploration of the war on drugs, drug dealing, and the inner workings of Mexican drug cartels. As a viewer who has seen his previous work, I wondered if some of the influence of the Iraq/Afghanistan war veteran character was a reflection of Oliver Stone's Platoon and his own experiences in the vietnam war. The torture scenes echo the brutality of that earlier film, and push the limits of grotesquery. But nothing is over the top. As someone who has read articles and studied the war on drugs, everything in this film is realistic. The performances are amazing, a surprising Travolta is electrifying. This is his best work since Pulp Fiction. Del Toro once again humanizes a horrific and unique character and Hayek holds her own. The younger leads, Kitsch and Johnson are also exceptional, at times I found myself forgetting they were acting on screen. The only downside to this film was Blake Lively, who seems to be acting like less of a bimbo-airhead-california blonde and instead just acting like her normal self. Her skills aren't really up to par but that's not to say it wasn't an adequate job, but in a film with powerhouse performances from Travolta and Del Toro, it is noticeable. Overall, the film was an exceptional thrill ride and exploration of the war on drugs. It's got Stone's subtle metaphors and hints and the "surprise" ending is one of the best endings I've seen in years. A warning, though - the film is exceptionally violent and ruthless. Savage, actually. Full Review »
  3. Jul 6, 2012
    9
    If you liked The Town last year, you'll like this. It's the same perfect blend of tone: Action, melodrama, and humor. These are the kind ofIf you liked The Town last year, you'll like this. It's the same perfect blend of tone: Action, melodrama, and humor. These are the kind of movies that hollywood action should be. It felt like a whole season of Breaking Bad, but with a great director and huge budget. SEE THIS.... I will buy it on DVD. Full Review »