I went and saw the Oscar nominated movie, it has a staggering twelve nominations, The Revenant. Revenant means “one who has returned from the dead.” It is an apt title, indeed. The Revenant is really three separate stories rolled into one. It is at the core a survival movie in the most literal sense of the word. It is also a revenge story of intensity and focus dealing with the vengeance best left with God. Finally, it is a story of people and place. It is a story of how the place defines the people; how the people define the place. The Revenant is a deep movie. It ponders the issues of character, environmental destruction and the genocide directed at the original inhabitants of the place; namely, the Indians.
It weaves a rich tapestry of the clash of cultures happening in this special place. The time is somewhere around 1825; it is a bit vague on that. The place is the upper Missouri River in the United States. It is also a bit vague on exactly where that is also. Granted, the actual movie was shot in British Columbia with a total commitment to authenticity and historical reality rare in movies these days. The reason you feel the movie is simply because the stuff shown in the movie really happened. There is no computer generated magic in The Revenant. When the lead character is floating down an icy river, it is real because DiCaprio is actually floating down a freezing river. It is that level of artistic integrity that gives the movie its emotional impact on the viewer.
I also have to say the cinematography is on a level of Lawrence of Arabia, or Doctor Zhivago or the other visually breathtaking movies. I will flatly state the visuals are the kind that leave one breathless and in awe of the skill involved by the crew shooting the scenes. I will also warn you I plan to see it a second time, and possibly a third. It is that good. It is that deep a movie you need to see it several times to absorb all it has to offer. Finally, well the acting is outstanding; the character development is deep and provides insight into people’s motivations for doing what they did.
I highly suggest you see the movie in a theater. If you don’t, then you are wasting your time in my view. The natural vistas shown on screen will be diminished into nothingness when seen on a television screen from a DVD. Like I said, I am talking about master craftsman level here. The general level of all aspects of the movie is so far beyond the usual drivel Hollywood pumps out. It is like comparing a Hollywood sitcom to Hamlet. It really is that good. It really is worth the $9.10 it cost me to see it during an afternoon matinee. Again, even if you can’t stand Hollywood, or their liberal brain dead actors, you should see this movie. It is rated R-17 for a reason. The violence in it reflects the daily level of violence Mountain Men, Indians and others running around the 1825 wilderness would deal with on a daily basis. And yes, Virginia the bear, the Grizzly Bear, attack is powerful and I did turn my eyes away a couple of times. The other reason I plan to see it again is there was so much going on I had trouble keeping track of it. For example, there is a scene where the lead character is walking over a valley covered by snow. In the background are a whole series of mountains. It was a spectacular, visual scene that worked on so many levels. It was beautiful. It was a meditation on the smallness of man against the majesty of nature. It was a profoundly moving scene and it had no human interaction at all. It was just one guy walking over a vast snowpack, and surrounded by immense mountains. The entire movie was studded with scenes like that. The level of excitement was also able to keep my interest for the entire two plus hour length of the movie.
If you only see one movie this year, see The Revenant. If you haven’t seen a movie in the last five years, go see the Revenant. If you hate Hollywood with a passion, go see The Revenant anyway.
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