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The New Republic

When Did Oliver Stone Lose His Spark of Big Ambition?

December 31, 1969

Savages is trashy, vulgar, preposterous, cruel—and maybe the most interesting and entertaining film Oliver Stone has made since Nixon. What more do you want when the country is burning, gridlocked, and practicing ballet on the brink? Don’t say the movies lack instincts about where we’re headed. If you were in any doubt about this, Oliver lets the voiceover tell us that in our lower depths savagery has been legitimized, adding that movies have characters best rated as “beautiful savages.”

That voice—naggy, croaking, and deaf to the pretension of lines like, “he was looking for wargasm not orgasm”—belongs to a young woman named O. Apparently that stands for Ophelia, but other choices are open,

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