Savages is one of the most complete pleasures for me this summer,” Hitfix‘s Drew McWeeny declares, “and the confidence that it displays from start to finish feels like a newly clear-eyed Oliver Stone revving the engine for the first time since Nixon. Is the crime story a little familiar, a little simple? Sure. If you’re interested in this sort of material, the actual plot isn’t really a shock or a revelation. But that’s not the point.

“Stone fell in love with these kids, and so he couldn’t do to them what Don Winslow does in the book, leading to a meta-textual moment late in the movie that you’ll either love or hate, but whichever way you go, Stone’s got you. He’s going to get a reaction. I’d love to see another run of bold and fun and dangerous movies from him, and Savages certainly suggests that Stone’s got plenty more in the tank.”