Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back from the Dead

The Revenant (2015) - Iñárritu
 photo 7180ba5f-9ba1-430b-a1e5-1af0b2a5c92b_zpsdzssdria.jpg
In the tradition of ambitious, bravura, excessive filmmaking, Alejandro G. Iñárritu goes there with The Revenant and achieves Apocalypse Now and Fitzcarraldo worthy greatness. It's an unsentimental, relentlessly brutal, macho filmmaking that will undoubtedly turn a lot of viewers off. But I loved it. It concerns fur trapper/guide Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) leading a cavalry of men in felt business to safety through the snowy and hostile western territory in 1800s. Because Glass has a half-breed, teenage Pawnee Indian son named Hawk and the group reeling after a vicious large scale Indian attack, the tension rises among the crew, especially from Fitzerald (Tom Hardy) an unsavory character who'd fuck over anyone standing in his way and his share of the profit. After the horrendous bear attack that leaves Glass almost dead, the captain of the cavalry (Domhnal Gleeson) orders (with the promise of large rewards) Fitzerald and young Bridger (Will Poulter) to care for Glass and Hawk and give Glass a proper Christian burial when the time comes, and leaves them behind to catch up later.

For the next two hours, The Revenant becomes a harrowing tale of survival and a revenge story. It's an amazing feat for DiCaprio, finally shedding all remnants of youth for the first time in my eyes, crawls the snowy earth, then dove right into the freezing roiling water, eats raw meat and fish, trek and climb the snowy Rockies with his bare hands. He is a live-action Wiley Coyote - he gets mauled, buried alive, almost drowned, thrown off the cliff, and so on and so on. He even uses a dead horse as a shelter, Empire Strikes Back style. Tom Hardy is perfect as a villain with his shifty gaze and mumbling.

Emmanuel Lubezki's only natural lit cinematography doesn't really chart anything new here, but the look and feel of The Revenant is polar opposite from Malick's The New World. And I am very glad that I decided to see the film in theaters. There are some blissfully beautiful shots in Glass's flashbacks/dreams of his dead Indian wife floating over him, but most of the time, the film is all dirt, mud, snot, wet felt and blood. And in its own way, it's spectacularly beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment