Title: The Revenant
Describe This Movie In One Simpsons Quote:
Homer: "We're here, we're queer, we don't want any more bears!"
Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Two-and-a-half Jebediah Springfields out of five.
Brief Plot Synopsis: Frontiersman seeks revenge on fellow trappers who left him for dead.
Tagline: "Blood lost, life found."
Better Tagline: "Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best
Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Hugh Glass (Leonard DiCaprio) is having a bad day, going from the frying pan of a Pawnee attack on his fur-trapping expedition to the fire of a vicious grizzly bear mauling, which leads to his abandonment by members of that same expedition, notably a criminal named Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Can Glass overcome ursine aggression and the horrors of the Upper Midwest to reap his vengeance? Do you know what a "revenant" is?
"Critical" Analysis: Why are we supposed to care about Leonardo DiCaprio winning an Oscar again?
Certain people seem outraged by the fact he hasn't won one, and any new DiCaprio movie comes with attendant articles by writers wringing their hands and wondering, "Is this finally Leo's year?" DiCaprio himself has become increasingly petulant about the whole thing, his disappointment in 2014 being almost comically palpable when his turn in The Wolf of Wall Street was passed over in favor of a time-honored Academy favorite, dramatic weight loss.
For The Revenant, DiCaprio spent nine months immersing himself in Canadian rivers, sleeping in bear carcasses and willingly subjecting himself to whatever punishments director Alejandro Iñárritu doled out on the film's famously arduous shoot. Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki used only natural light for the film, allowing them a few hours of filming per day (the conditions led to much discontent, and Hardy and Iñárritu clashed so often the director eventually allowed Hardy to choke him out, an image which has since achieved its own notoriety).
This is all a long way around saying: Yes, DiCaprio might win the Oscar for The Revenant, but his performance isn't even the best one in the film.
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This is an amazing-looking movie. It's also brutal, unforgiving and exhausting. When the end credits finally rolled, I felt like I'd just completed one of those Spartan races, if such a thing is possible to accomplish while drinking beer on my couch. But as awesome as the scenery (and scenery chewing) is, there's not a hell of a lot going on. The Revenant clocks in at more than 2.5 hours, much of which is dedicated to Glass's glimpses of the "spirit world." He's like the Dirty Steve in a Dogme 95 Young Guns.
Perversely (or perhaps inevitably), Glass's journey may be a harrowing testament to the resiliency of the human spirit, or whatever, but the best characters in the movie are Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter). My persistent "Hardy-on" is well-documented, but his borderline unhinged take is perfect here, and Poulter surprises as his grudging accomplice. Every time Glass was hallucinating while blowing frost from his beard, I kept wanting the movie to return to the two erstwhile bad guys.
Having said that, Glass's ordeals would be almost comical if they weren't largely true, and it's easy to get drawn into his relentlessness. On the other hand, Iñárritu is so insistent on beating us over the head with Glass's on-the-nose visions that he ends up detracting from the beauty of Lubezki's shots. Put another way, Leo actually gets in the way of the best part of the movie.
The Revenant is in theaters today. You know who else doesn't have an Oscar? Albert fucking Finney. Edit: and Peter O'Toole!