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Savage (2018 film)
Savage is a 2018 US dramedy feature film directed and written by Dakota Gamble, based on true events and consists of real people with real antisocial disorders, starring Fraser Precious, PJ Jenkins, Joy Gibbs, Becca Hayden, Jacob Dinsmore, Daniel Rhyder, the director Dakota Gamble, and Pontus Duvsjo. The film premiered on December 7th, 2017 at the Laemmle's NoHo 7 in Hollywood, California in front of 119 people. It currently has an 8.0 on IMDb and a 7/10 on Amazon Prime, its main distributor available in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K., grossing just over the micro-budgeted $11k it cost to create the project.
The movie opens with a collection of abused mental patients in hospitals worldwide to show the neglect and mistreatment of those confined for being born with a defect in their social behaviors. A hopeful neurologist Dr. Henley (Fraser Precious) hopes to change the future of how these people are treated and how they behave in public so he pitches his obligated sobriety meetings with a handful of diverse patients for a period in order to prove his hypothesis. His colleagues, although suspicious and wary, finally agree to the doctor's passionate monologue about his work and give him a couple months to show any results. After the meeting is over, Henley's colleagues then wager on his success in private.
Skipping to a later date where a group of ten convicts are being led away from the prison camp to the designated location for Henley's tests, the group breaks into a riot in order to escape but the attempt is cut short when three of them are shot down and the rest are held at gunpoint. These seven are later forced to sit in sturdy chairs in a circle with Dr. Henley as he attempts to break them out of their comfort zone and manipulate their characteristics to improve their well being. We begin to slowly learn about each of the characters' stories and how they became the people they were as they were locked up for crimes they committed.
Cyrus (Gamble) is a "recovered" crack addict and is still suffering from withdrawals, especially that of which led him to the accidental murder of his 5-year-old daughter while he was under the influence of cocaine. We later see a complicated character torn between his obsession with drugs to abscond from his weary strife with life's obstacles and the loss of his most precious possession, eventually coming to terms with how strong he really is to have pushed himself through the rough times to be involved with a group of people with the want to improve but the misunderstanding of how to do it.
Pierce (Jenkins) is a very temperamental man, a recently retired Marine, convicted of murdering his wife in cold blood. He is a very stalwart and physical man with limited emotions when it comes to public interaction, proving to be the most observant of the group. His thick shell gradually cracks as he sees that he is surrounded by a "load of peculiar f$%&s" and feels like it would be healthier for him to fit in rather than fight the opportunity to right his wrongs.
Sydney (Hayden) is an Aussie with a love for fire and what it does to flammable objects that had really peaked out of an abusive relationship when she was incarcerated for burning down her house with her ex in it, but has trouble relating to anyone who doesn't share a love for disruption as much as she does. However, stemming from her middle school tutorship, her love for helping others makes it easier to bond with the others as they do not hide who they are from her and give her a chance to spark a lighter as well as socialize with other people as inferior to the normalized society as she is.
Colton (Dinsmore) is a timid man diagnosed with schizophrenia at a young age who was arrested for speeding and mistaking the arresting officer as the "Prince of Darkness", thus leading him to attempt to bite the policeman's face off. From time to time he will assume the identity of a fictional person due to the voices in his head controlling his thoughts and mood swings every so often. We learn that Colton is really just a scared man plagued by the antics of a disorder he was diagnosed and struggles to fit in with others when he has no control of being himself, but is content when he finds an open and accepting group of people that he can be whoever he wants to be with.
Rocco (Duvsjo) is a simple man addicted to marijuana and having fun with friends, eventually breaking it to the group that he started his addiction to weed and other drugs back in high school in a venture to woo the "hottest girl" at that school. This girl would later go on to be a renowned pornstar, leaving him more depressed in his earlier adult years and relying on drugs to help him through his missed opportunities when even his gay best friend gets a shot at her. He begins to think he is just an ugly loser and tries to overdose with minorities to escape his life of torture, but finally finds his mental relapse when he meets the other six outcasts in Henley's meetings.
Pearl (Gibbs) is a middle-aged woman who loves to partake in the activity of drinking heavily when in the mood for a fun time in order to either escape from reality or prevent herself from being inconsolable alone. She is infamous throughout the Los Angeles area for being kicked out of many hot clubs, causing rues in which she taints other people's nights, and has shunned herself from any family or friends in order to be herself whenever and wherever she wants. Her illegal tendencies lead her to jail, but it is there where she finds a new batch of friends where she can get into trouble and not be judged for what she finds pleasure in doing under the influence.
Winston (Rhyder) has evolved from a doted Amish man with a strict lifestyle to finding a release and freedom in the act of streaking. He feels "closer to God" every time he streaks because he has been ridden of his past beliefs, yet his interest in doing so disrupts the laws against public nudity – therefore landing him in jail for being in the nude at a Quinceañera. Although a very quiet and introverted man that pushes him to be the butt of a lot of jokes within the group, Winston is very defensive of his new lifestyle because he believes it is better suited for him than his troubled past.
The journey of the seven antisocial criminals is a very touching and heartfelt story from their younger fragmented paths to their accepting of who they are thanks to the social interaction between each other. Amidst the crude jokes and heinous activities the group gets themselves into, Savage illuminates the pros and cons of mental disabilities and the importance of attention people need in the coming future.
After the fourth draft of Savage was written, production started in January of 2017, later finishing after a reshoot in June due to conflicts with three former producers who had attempted to cancel the completion of the project and withheld money promised via contract from the director until the rights were given over to them. Raising the budget from $7,500 to $9,000, Dakota Gamble finally finished the film and spent another $2,000 to edit, copyright, and promote the film that would later premiere in Hollywood and be allowed for international viewing on Amazon Prime (link available below in References). The scene in which Cyrus was hit with a nail-laden bat was real and involved no farse prop other than real nails and a real wooden bat. Another scene where the seven were arrested by a squad of police officers was held from the cast's knowledge so their reactions were real because they were not told what would happen prior. Real weed, alcohol, and cocaine were used in the making of this film.
The role of Rocco was recast three times due to problems with the actors' inabilities to relate to the character enough for the director's liking as well as being able to commit to methodically smoking marijuana on set. Becca Hayden had to return from her home in Australia to reshoot the last day of production six months after issues with the producers arose. Fraser Precious had to shoot his scene via a laptop computer in lieu of his scene originally shot in an office with his colleagues. The role of Winston was executed easily before and after the streaking scenes.
The film was released on December 7, 2017 in front of 119 people in Hollywood, then was released internationally on June 1, 2018. As of July 23rd the movie has been purchased or rented by just under 200 people. The director is expected to release his short horror film Solstice before winter of 2018.
Savage (2018 Film)
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