The Revenant reviews

Okri
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:09 pm

Some good moments, but ultimately pointless. So so pointless. And long. I feel like I could have taken a 30 minute nap anywhere in the movie and it wouldn't have affected my opinion of it.

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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:42 pm

(I've been avoiding this thread for weeks, and am writing this without reading anything anyone's written prior, so as not to bias my take. I'll look at your offerings after I post.)

Apparently the true-life incident on which this is based also inspired the 1971 Richard Harris movie Man in the Wilderness -- a movie it never crossed my mind to see back than. Obviously the talent on show here make this a far less skippable movie, but it's really no more to my taste this time around. With clear exceptions, my general preference is for modern, urban movies, with dialogue and (if suitable) wit. Guys running around the primitive wilderness grunting and wheezing and hunting one another down is just not something to which I'm disposed.

For maybe the first 15-30 minutes, I thought the technique on display could overcome that. The scene of the native Americas attacking the trappers, with arrows flying from unknown directions and the camera swirling, was intoxicating, and I thought, maybe Innaritu can do what he did with Birdman: so elevate the proceedings with his visuals that the thin story-line can be transcended. And there were some later individual shots or sequences -- notably DiCaprio's ride down the river -- that were impressive. But, on the whole, I found the visual story-telling more scenic/pretty than engaging. And the story just never went beyond a variation of Inigo Montoya ("you killed my son; prepare to die"). After a while, for me the story just seemed to go on and on, with little interesting twist, and many sequences seemed elongated for no reason. Even in the final sequence (SPOILER ALERT:), I found myself thinking, just kill the bastard so I can go home. The film was a bit of an endurance test for me -- not because of violence (with which I had little problem) but because of something like boredom.

I honestly don't see how one could emerge from this film thinking DiCaprio gave an Oscar-level performance unless one went in already mostly committed to the premise. Owing to his injuries, he has hardly any dialogue till the last reel or so; I'm not even sure what you could use as an Oscar clip, other than his talk with Gleeson back at the post. This isn't to say he's bad -- he's well-used and acquits himself well as the story's central figure; it's just that this is far from the sort of performance normally touted for an Oscar. The only best actor winner I can think of who seemed as anomalous a selection is Russell Crowe in Gladiator -- and that, like this, seemed more atonement for a past omission. It's entirely possible people will end up voting for DiCaprio, if only in gratitude for his star power (the film is apparently headed to a $35 million weekend, which would be inconceivable with a lesser star), but I think if they do it's one they'll shake their heads over before long.

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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby flipp525 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:35 pm

Sabin wrote:You are wrong about Mad Max: Fury Road! Fuck you, you child! You -- oh, sorry. You're talking about something else.

Well, I mean, someone has to!

He definitely wasn't phoning it in in The Revenant. But - how can I put this? - I was oddly unmoved by his performance. I just couldn't get into it. I felt more for that spotted horse that went over the cliff than I did for Hugh Glass (and I feel like I was supposed to be more "Yes! Go Hugh!") Does that make sense?
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:29 pm

You are wrong about Mad Max: Fury Road! Fuck you, you child! You -- oh, sorry. You're talking about something else.

The Departed is my favorite DiCaprio performance. I wish he had won then. It would have been the high point of his collaboration with Matin Scorsese. He clearly did not take that role to win an Oscar that year. That was his Blood Diamond role. So it would have been rewarding his craft. The Oscar mongering jokes wouldn't have taken hold of his narrative as a serious actor. I will say this of his performance in The Revenant. This is not an actor who is phoning it in.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby flipp525 » Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:12 pm

There is NO competition this year. Weakest best actor field in a decade. If DiCaprio can't win this time, then it will be because of a backlash against his blatant Oscar campaigning. I've said this before, but Academy voters don't like being told who to vote for. If they see something more interesting on the horizon (the crowd-pleasing antics of Matt Damon in The Martian; the steady work of Steve Carell in The Big Short), they will go for it.

I loved DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street and wouldn't have minded a win there. And his (non-nominated) performance in The Departed was some of his strongest, most affecting work in his entire oeuvre. He really should've won for What's Eating Gilbert Grape all those years ago.
Last edited by flipp525 on Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:37 pm

Unfucked mashed potatoes are the best.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:01 pm

I really like Domhall Gleason, actually. He was terrific in Black Mirror and I was taken by him in Anna Karenina as well.

I also like mashed potatoes, though.

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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:57 pm

He was as bland as two bowls of mashed potatoes fucking in that film.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:49 pm

Sabin wrote:How does anybody "like" Domhall Gleeson? What have I not seen?

Does it balance it out at all to say that I couldn't stand him in Brooklyn?
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:58 pm

How does anybody "like" Domhall Gleeson? What have I not seen?
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby flipp525 » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:49 pm

Sabin wrote:It also has the absolute worst final shot of the year.

Yes! What was that?! It was like Leo turning to look directly into the camera to remind the Oscar voters one last time to vote for him come ballot time.

I liked Domhall Gleeson quite a bit here. But, like Sabin and BJ noted, Tom Hardy is definitely the standout. He's just very good. He gives a much better performance than DiCaprio and actually manages to create a "character" which is not something I ever saw in DiCaprio's performance. I found DiCaprio lackluster (and actually even laughable at times with that grizzled voice he was doing at the end). Yes, he suffers greatly and it's a pretty physically taxing role (and he crawls naked inside of a dead horse!) but I was never moved by him. I kept thinking, "Is he really going to win an Oscar for this?"

It would really be a shame if Michael Fassbender's assured turn in Steve Jobs went unrecognized in order to reward DiCaprio with a totally undeserved career Oscar.
Last edited by flipp525 on Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:44 pm

You're right. Then I assume they were referring to border conflicts.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby taki15 » Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:39 pm

Sabin wrote:John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) discusses "Going back to Texas to enlist" and he means The Mexican-American War.


That's impossible. The film takes place in the year 1823. The Mexican-American War started 23 years later.

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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:49 pm

I don't feel like writing much about The Revenant because there's just not very much to say. I recommend it on the basis of formal mastery. For me, it excelled at opening a window into a different chapter of history and it felt visceral, at times reminding me of Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Where it fails is in providing anything resembling socio-political context. John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) discusses "Going back to Texas to enlist" and he means The Mexican-American War. That is the extent of the outside world that enters into this survivalist exercise, which depresses me a little in retrospect. It would have been nice to have gained a little more about this world beyond "It's cold and everybody hates each other."

That said, I enjoyed the film while I was watching it. It is the Emmanuel Lubeszki Show and while I will be rooting for Carol to win the Oscar, I can't deny that this film is all cinematography. It's all about action/physical choreography in relationship to the frame, which is nothing short of amazing. I'll paraphrase Indiewire: this is brilliant filmmaking at the expense of brilliant storytelling. It has more in common with Gravity than any Western I've seen. Maybe that's also what I mean by opening a window.

I remarked on Facebook that it deserves the Oscar for Location Scouting. The Revenant is full of gorgeous landscapes. I am a bit of a sucker for a well-shot, deliberate odyssey full of gorgeous photography. That might also be why I'm going to end up a bit more positive on this one than some. Anyway -- although this is a vengeance film, most of what he is doing is survival in the general direction of the camp. He comes off more like a hallucinating animal than a vengeful father. At no point is it a 19th century Death Wish. I think committing to this approach was the right idea although it slightly undercuts the finale a bit.

I could see Tom Hardy getting the fifth slot. He comes across like a half-rodent, on edge, always prattling on about something. His speech is almost indecipherable but I wish the film took a few more cues from him. And he has a great fireside speech. I cannot see anybody in the running taking the Oscar from Leonardo DiCaprio but I could see anybody from last year winning instead. He is...good? He is...fine? He totally commits to this part and I never for a moment doubted his existence in this film whereas I am often taken out of movies because of his limited range. Perhaps then he is more than good and fine, but this is a physical, often silent performance that constantly brings to mind the image of a man who is willing to go to any physical extreme to win an Oscar. His makeup artists on the other hand deserve to win. My goodness, this is good work!

It also has the absolute worst final shot of the year.
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Re: The Revenant reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:53 pm

Indiewire just ran an article titled: 'The Revenant' is Brilliantly Directed, But Does That Make It a Great Movie?' The only mention of DiCaprio is at the tail end of this sentence:

The ever-reliable Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki reteams with Iñarritu to craft a series of astoundingly intense sequences, aided in large part by a ferocious turn by Leonardo DiCaprio as the abandoned lead.


Even when praising him he falls secondary to the filmmaking.
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