Blake Lively has only appeared in a handful of movies since her breakout vehicle Gossip Girl wrapped up in 2012 after six seasons and 121 episodes, but she can typically be relied on to give a solid performance, whether it’s as an ageless romantic lead in The Age of Adaline, a dogged survivor in shark attack thriller The Shallows, a mysterious PR director in comic crime caper A Simple Favor or an undercover operative in action-heavy literary adaptation The Rhythm Section.
The actress’ first big screen role after the conclusion of Gossip Girl saw her play the shared girlfriend of Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s would-be marijuana entrepreneurs in Oliver Stone’s star-studded Savages. A lot less political than the majority of the filmmaker’s output, the story involves Salma Hayek’s ruthless cartel leader moving onto the laid-back trio’s turf, building to a showdown between rival factions with John Travolta’s DEA agent caught right in the middle.
It isn’t Stone’s best effort by any stretch of the imagination, but the ensemble cast all do the best they can with an underwritten and undercooked script, while the Conan the Barbarian and Scarface writer shows that he hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to broad genre trappings having spent the majority of his career tackling hot-button political issues in the likes of Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Natural Born Killers, Nixon World Trade Center and W.
Savages may have disappointed at the box office back in 2012 after earning just $83 million on a $45 million budget, but it’s exactly the sort of undemanding thriller that always plays well on Netflix, meaning it could realistically trouble the most-watched list now that it’s been added to the library.