Its that time of the year when I try to watch pretty much every movie nominated for an Oscar and Sunday afternoon was the day I chose to go and see “The Revenant”, the latest film by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu.
I knew the movie was 2hours plus long and by the looks of the trailer this looked pretty much an epic arty film so I decided to go by myself. I also got hungry so bought some Nachos and some chocolates and made my way into the theatre. This was a bad idea. The movie was so gore and violent that I hope the foxes ate all the Nachos minus the jalapeños I threw on my way back near the garden where I always see them.
“The Revenant” is set in 1823 in the American hinterlands and it depicts an epic journey of freezing temperatures. The main character, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) does everything a human being could posibly do to survive. This survival instict is, in his case, partly motivated by vengeance. The film is based on a novel by Michael Punke but its characters are actual historical figures. The real Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear just like DiCaprio’s character. If Di Caprio is one of those actors who always goes the extra mile, in this film, he has given not a 100 but 200 per cent. It is written all over his tired, cold, beaten up looking face. This is an actor who in this film suffers for his art. Period. Despite his performance, “The Revenant” felt masculine, bloody, violent and brutal and as a woman I was dissapointed to see that the only woman who makes an apperance in the screen, gets raped. It reminded me of a Hemingway book I read at University while studying English Philology ,“Men without women”. This is pretty much a film without women.
Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
I’m a big fan of Andrei Tarkovsky films and I could see Andrei influence on many shots of the film. “The Stalker”, for example, has that painfully beautiful imagery that “The Revenant” definitely has. Both films are slow moving and contemplative and full of poetic imagery.
I love Alejandro’s filmmography and I loved his collaborations with talented scriptwriter Guillermo Arriaga, their first film together, “Amores Perros”, literay blew my mind away. It was the first time ever I had seen something so well written and so originally executed. “21 Gramms” followed and the three stories running parallell repeated itself but still a great film. Then, I read somewhere that these two great talents split up after a massive fallout and even during a scriptwriting seminar given by Arriaga himself that I atended, he mentioned when asked during an end of day Q&A that he and Alejandro kind of split up their wonderful cinematic relationships because of ego. Whatever their reasons, a real shame as these two made great films together. Then, It came “Babel”and “Biutiful” , good but never as good as Amores Perros, followed by “Birdman“which felt slighty pretentious and just couldn’t love as much as everyone else did.
With Guillermo Arriaga, the scriptwriter of Amores Perros and 21 Grams at a scriptwriting seminar
Alejandro G. Iñarritu is no doubt a filmmaker that pushes the filmmaking boundaries with every movie he makes, and in this one he goes above and beyond in creating not so much a film where the storytelling traps you as he did in Amores Perros with Arriaga’s writing, in “The Revenant”, he has created a masterful visual poem about nature, its beauty and it’s brutality. The movie pushes boundaries and the filmmaker is not bothered about entertaining you too much but about his characters and their situation,but personally for me, this was a one off cinematic experience I wont be experiencing anytime soon.