Some of you may have seen previews for the new Oliver Stone film, Savages , based on the 2010 book by Don Winslow. Here’s my review of the book:
Savages is a uniquely creative novel. It’s quirky, filled with ticklish wit and unforgettable descriptions, and beautifully written by the same author who gave us The Winter of Frankie Machine and The Death and Life of Bobby Z, Don Winslow.
It’s the story of two men from Laguna Beach, California–Ben, a genius botanist who grows the finest weed in the world, and his longtime best friend, Chon, who provides the muscle for their boutique enterprise–and they woman they share, Ophelia, otherwise known as “O.” The trio makes for a compelling mix of wit, sex, and brilliant dialogue. There’s a shopping spree (and a sex scene) that cannot be topped by anything in contemporary writing.
When the Mexican Baja cartel decides it wants Ben and Chon to work through them and not independently, the men won’t cooperate. Cartel thugs kidnap O as a bargaining chip, and all hell breaks loose.
In this novel, Don Winslow uses language in a hip and magical way, at times even writing scenes in screenplay format. He conjures images, thoughts, and feelings with a touch that’s so chillingly real, it makes your spine tingle with a mixture of awe, fear, and admiration.
Yes, the bullets fly and blood and guts splatter with abandon, but the heart and soul of the story is the unyielding bond among these three characters and their refusal to yield to the greedy forces that threaten to overwhelm them.
I’m holding my breath waiting to see how Oliver Stone has translated this incredible novel into a film. Savages is a must-read for anyone who loves contemporary writing.
— Mark Rubinstein, author, Mad Dog House (October 2012)