Those who have read Don Winslow’s crime novel “Savages” may be scratching their heads after seeing Oliver Stone‘s big-screen adaptation, which hit theaters this Friday. The movie Savages takes a sharp turn in its final minutes, settling on an easy breezy happy ending over the more difficult fare presented in its source material. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Was Stone’s decision a good one? Not necessarily, but seeing the three leads living healthily and wealthily ever after should be pleasing to some viewers. During last month’s press conference in Los Angeles, the director told reporters that the book’s nihilistic ending didn’t feel right for his film. But instead of cutting it out altogether, Stone pulls a fake out by letting the book’s end play out before rewinding and presenting a happier version.
When O’s (Blake Lively) two lovers Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) reach their remote rendezvous point with the cartel, things naturally start to go horribly wrong. Cartel honcho Elena (Salma Hayek) gives the boys O in exchange for her daughter, but it isn’t long before a shoot-out leaves Ben fatally wounded. Since Chon and O would rather die than live life as a regular, non-polyamorous couple, they commit suicide on the spot.
Or do they? O’s narrative voice soon tells us that this is the romanticized way things played out in her head, then the film doubles back and presents an ending where pretty much everyone ends up living relatively happily ever after. Some bad guys go to jail, other bad guys take over, and our three heroes end up living the expat dream on some remote island paradise.
Does Stone’s new ending show us that true love conquers all, even when that true love is a crazy love triangle that goes toe-to-toe with one of the deadliest forces on Earth? Sure! Is the original, nihilistic shocker jarring and tonally appropriate? Absolutely. Vote in the poll below to let us know which ending you prefer, and be sure to back up your choices in the comments.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: UNIVERSAL PICTURES]