Last night I saw The Revenant with a theater full of other movie goers. The late showing, mind you, because the first showing was sold out an hour before it started. While I may comment from time to time on movies I’ve seen, I don’t normally write a full out post on them. But this one deserves it. So here’s my thoughts. (No spoilers)
- The Revenant is the most cinematically beautiful piece of film I have seen in a long long long time. The imagery captured becomes part of the film in a way that is haunting and spectacular, adding to the story line in a way dialog or dramatic action scenes never could. I felt like I had spent nearly 3 hours in an art gallery being mesmerized by every single painting and photograph in the place. I could taste the landscape.
- To call The Revenant a western movie is like saying the Pope believes in God. The correlation is that the setting is western-ish, very early western-ish, like trappers and native Americans early … but that’s where it ends. This is a horror movie, plain and simple, every bit as frightening and scare inducing as anything Stephen King writes. I won’t give away any spoilers, so I’ll let you figure out who the monster is. My description to my writing group was “This is a horror movie dressed in a bear hide.” You have been warned.
- Brutal is not a strong enough word. Gut wrenching violence is available in mass quantities. Happy does not describe a single frame. Someone else commented that they may become a vegetarian after seeing it … I share their thoughts and sentiments. I may as well.
- My favorite part of the movie was something small but profound in our world. The Revenant was not a movie about heroes saving the day. Although the cast is inordinately strong on male roles, it is the women in the movie that held my fascination. One is the driving force behind the entire film, the other, brutalized by the men surrounding her, is not saved by any man … rather she saves herself. It is a profound statement in this day and age. Easily the scene could have been cliche, man saves woman from terrible fate. Instead, one person helps another person to save themselves. Gender roles do not exist and do not need to exist.
Personally this is one of the best movies I have seen in forever. I loved The Martian because it made me feel good and laugh and marvel at the ingenuity of life. I loved The Revenant for very different reasons. There is no happily ever in this film. Life is what it’s about.
Have thoughts about this film? I’d love to hear them.