Friday, March 25, 2016

The Revenant (a movie review post)

A beautiful and terrible movie.

I could almost leave it at that, but I suppose it does need more explanation.

First, though:
You know, I'm not going to complain about DiCaprio getting best actor for this. I think a role like this is probably pretty tough. And I don't just mean the rigorous conditions. I mean the not being able to use your voice. There's not a lot of talking in this one. DiCaprio did a more than adequate job of carrying the movie with his facial expressions and stumbling around, much better than Redmayne did last year, at any rate. However, I think Bale would have been the better choice for The Big Short. If he'd been nominated for best actor, that is. What's up with that?

And I don't particularly like Christian Bale.

The movie is beautiful. Even in its terror, it's beautiful. The cinematography is, in a word, amazing.

But, beyond that, the movie doesn't offer much. In that way, you can take "terrible" to mean whatever you want it to. What I can say is that, at the end of the movie, I wasn't left feeling anything. Maybe that's the way Inarritu intended it, but I don't want to watch a movie and then feel nothing. My actual thought when the screen went from DiCaprio's face to the credits was, "Oh... That's it?" There was no joy, no sadness, no nothing. No catharsis. There wasn't even anything to think about as there was at the end of Birdman. It was just over.

Now, this next thing is my own bias:
People talk about this movie as if it is just a revenge tale, but that's not true. It's not even mostly true. Mostly, it's a survival tale. I tend to not like fictional survival tales. They're just... too outrageous. Once you've decided your hero is going to survive, you can do anything you want to the character and, guess what, he survives! I have a hard time with Hugh Glass surviving the trials he went through. A real Hugh Glass, that is. Still, I was willing to go along with it for a while, even the trips in the freezing water, but [SPOILER ALERT!] going over the cliff on the horse was just too much for me. Okay, so was putting gun powder in his wound and igniting it. Clever but too much.

See, if you give me something like 127 Hours, I'm good. That really happened. The things Aron Ralston did to survive were amazing, but it's amazing because it's real. Nothing Hugh Glass did to survive or that he survived was amazing, because it was all a fiction. There's nothing triumphant and nothing to cheer. Then, there's the ending...

Also, there's Tom Hardy. I have nothing good to say about Hardy. Maybe if he takes a role that's more than guttural mumbling.


  1. Still haven't seen it, but I heard it's a polarizing film.
    I didn't feel a lot at the end of Birdman either. Other than, what the #!* did I just watch?
    I do expect to be blown away by the cinematography since it beat Fury Road for that Oscar.

  2. Not sure what you mean by all fiction. Hugh Glass was a real guy who really was attacked by a bear and left for dead by his crew. But, yeah, the story is hugely embellished for dramatic purposes. I loved the book, and the movie too, though they changed A LOT of stuff. Agree the ending was a bit too vague.

    1. L.G.:I mean by fiction that the movie, other than that there was a man named Hugh Glass who was mauled by a bear and left behind, was a fiction. The book, also, was written as fiction and not non-fiction. They took one event and made everything else up, even his son. And that it took place in winter, which it didn't.

  3. Academy Awards haven ever gone to people based on merit. Or the roles that are actually nominated. They're corrupt like that.

  4. I don't really want to see this, and haven't wanted to. None of the previews for it, and none of the reviews, have in any way set up anything for me in it. DiCaprio's a good actor, though.

  5. The Oscars are what they are a bunch a people in a group saying and voting like they want. I rarely agree with them.
    Don't want to see this movie, saw the previews too much violence for me.
    I wanted the Martian to win along with Matt Damon. So what do I know ?

    cheers, parsnip

    1. parsnip: I didn't think The Martian was the greatest, but I did think Damon was awesome in it. It takes a lot to carry a movie like that, and he did a great job. I think he's frequently undervalued as an actor.

  6. Yeah, can't say I'm especially interested in this one. It's worth noting, though, that the cinematographer won the Oscar for the third year in a row. No one had ever done that before for that category. So, not surprised you enjoyed that aspect.