Saturday, January 23, 2016

Movie Review: The Revenant

Movie Review
The Revenant

I should know better than to listen to professionals in the entertainment industry when they recommend a movie.


I had a casting director recommend “Birdman” to me a year ago.  I really hated it.

Then, today, I had the director of an acting school recommend “The Revenant.”  I didn’t realize until afterwards that this movie actually has the same director as “Birdman.” If I had realized that, I would have been more careful.

The thing is, with these professionals, they are looking with highly critical eyes at the details of the execution of the movie.  How is the acting? How is the camera work?  How is the editing?  They often particularly judge the quality of acting by the authenticity of scenes where the performer is suffering.  Ugh.

If those things are excellent, they like the movie.

They aren’t really looking at things like: Is this a fun movie?  Is it going to depress the viewer?

Now, with this movie, “The Revenant,” the execution is great.  All those technical details are just lovely.

Does technical quality make this a movie I want to see?


The movie is all about murdering, raping, bleeding, groaning, gasping, spitting, suffering, crawling through the snow — and it’s winter — and it’s a very, very long movie, by current standards.  It’s two and a half hours of extreme, overwhelming suffering, by filthy, miserable, tortured people. 

Moreover, the acting roles are predominantly male.  Women are there to be murdered, raped, or otherwise exploited.  There is one female character who appears rather frequently as a ghost/memory — but, again, only because she is the wife of the protagonist.  Otherwise this is another of those male movies.

Moreover, I like to think of wilderness as beautiful and spiritual.  In this movie, it becomes an instrument of torture.  It makes me so happy to be inside, in a safe place — not being mauled by a bear, falling off a cliff, escaping by floating through icy waters. 

I have to feel, too, that this things is improbable.  The protagonist survives the unsurvivable. 

Then, at one point, he smiles.  I think this is the one technical flaw of the movie.  When he smiles, it’s suddenly a movie star smile — the million dollar smile of Leonardo DiCaprio.  That’s the one part of the movie that seems technically flawed.  Otherwise, DICaprio is a brilliant actor.

Anyway, if you liked “Birdman,” which I didn’t, you might like this one.



It was interesting that the protagonist and one of the antagonists were both motivated by wrongs done to their children.