Between all the talk about Taylor Kitsch pulling double-duty with John Carter and the upcoming Battleship, it’s easy to forget that the Friday Night Lights alum will actually grace the big screen a third time this year – with Savages, director Oliver Stone’s adaptation of the critically-acclaimed (and best-selling) Don Winslow novel, which sees Kitsch play one-third of a love triangle that includes Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson and Gossip Girl‘s Blake Lively.
The newly-unveiled trailer for Savages suggests the crime drama/thriller could be somewhat of a return to the uninhibited tone and frenetic style of Stone’s films in the ’90s (JFK, Natural Born Killers, Any Given Sunday) – rather than the comparatively calmer and more collected approach, which has defined much of the often-controversial auteur’s work in the 21st century.
Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Johnson), a peaceful and charitable Buddhist, and his closest friend Chon (Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL and ex-mercenary, run a lucrative, homegrown industry—raising some of the best marijuana ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with the extraordinary beauty Ophelia (Lively). Life is idyllic in their Southern California town… until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them.
Between Lively getting frisky with both Johnson and Kitsch, Salma Hayek owning the screen as a serpentine cartel head, and the glimpses of unadulterated mayhem than ensues when all these various players collide – this trailer makes Savages look like a pretty crazy ride. Add to that people like John Travolta and Benicio del Toro (playing a dirty DEA agent and merciless Cartel enforcer, respectively), then mix it together with Stone’s proven capacity for invigorating visual storytelling – and the final result could be a tasty cocktail of sex, drugs, and violence that’s packaged as a twisted love story, no less.
That would be a welcome change of pace from Stone’s more recent, but less memorable work as a director. Even though the three-time Oscar-winner hasn’t shied away from polarizing subject matter as of late (see: W. and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), many cinephiles feel Stone softened his style with those films – which, as a result, ended up not leaving much of an impact. We’ll just have to wait and see if Savages can indeed break away from that trend.
Savages is scheduled for theatrical release in the U.S. beginning July 6th, 2012.