I almost died.
There have been many people who have almost died and I think they might take offense (or at least raise a stitched eyebrow) to someone capping the story of sort of stumbling on the staircase (my students) or sneezing while holding a steak knife (uh, that one was me) with those three words.
This simple, throwaway phrase, wholly undermines the epic f--king journey that almost dying surely is. And even though it was a movie, I have seen this journey. And it was so gut-wrenching, so heart-breaking, so unbelievably grueling...well, just watching it...almost killed me.
|One day. One day. I too, will have ice in my beard.|
By now, you've probably seen The Revenant (and know what it's about), but as the lights dimmed last Saturday, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it was a story of survival, I just didn't have any clue as to what that actually meant, and how f--king daunting it would be. Hundreds of films prior to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest have featured a protagonist hanging on, I'm just not sure to this degree. Like, I wasn't sure actor Leonardo DiCaprio was going to make it, let alone Hugh Glass, the character he was playing. It's unbelievable, to say the least.
Balls deep in the misery known as early 1800's America, we meet Glass as he is leading a group of fur traders through the snowy frontier of the Dakotas. Minutes in, their camp is attacked by Native Americans and all Hell breaks loose. Glass and his son, Hawk, manage to get to the boat with a small group of men, some of whom are wounded in the bloody chaos. After their narrow escape, Glass makes the relatively unpopular decision to abandon the boat and head back to Fort Kiowa...on foot. Even with everyone (momentarily) relatively healthy, this is going to be quite the bogus journey. Good thing Glass knows these woods, and as long as they can move quickly, they should be able to survive. I mean, what could really go wrong?
Oh, right. Everything.
Soon after their new-found journey begins, Glass is mauled by a bear and left for dead. In one of the most exciting, amazing, and insanely visceral scenes ever thrust upon a theater full of adults, Glass is thoroughly devastated by a giant grizzly bear. With their guide's slashed f--king throat not topping his list of sustained bear-related injuries, the snow-bound trek through the wilderness has gone from God-awful to something much worse. Honestly, at points, I found myself wishing Glass would give in and die.
But whether it's can't or won't, I'm unsure, as Glass unflinchingly refuses death, after a selfish, murderous a-hole named John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, once again disappearing into his character) further f--ks everything up and kills Glass' teen-aged son, Hawk. Right in front of Glass' helpless eyes.
|Even though I wanted the trigger pulled, I was afraid...because I actually thought they would show it.|
Having nothing left in the world other than a score to settle, Glass sets out on one of the most arduous revenge missions in cinematic history. The bear attack was certainly the foundation, but trouble will find Glass in many forms along the way. Some too painful to mention (uh, up here anyway).
Undoubtedly, it's a simple story, but in the hands of everyone involved, it grabs you by the back of the neck and drags you to the bloody finish. Normally, I'd balk at a movie running over 150 minutes, but I will watch this film again, as soon as I get the chance. The performances alone warrant another look, not to mention the complete technical brilliance used to capture them. Simply put, The Revenant is an amazing film.
Not amazing, and likely dying under vacation-like circumstances, are the Yays and Boos. Sure, the bear has been haunting them, but it's actually the horse they've been tossing and turning over. Pussies.
|This is going to slay the Red Carpet.|
- After a super-quick prologue, the chaos starts. And...never stops.
- The initial raid of the trappers' camp was so good, it alone might be my favorite action movie ever.
- Not only was I convinced that I'd never see Will Pouter in a good movie again (after admittedly killing it in We're the Millers [review], but I was damn sure I'd never love his character whole-heartedly. (Happily) Wrong on both fronts.
- Bridger (uh, Poulter's character), despite inadvertently ruining everything, is such an honorable dude, I loved it. Oddly, everyone is. Fitzgerald (at times), too. It's like they all know that every aspect of the planet is conspiring to kill them, so all these hardcore guys respect each other. Well, the guys from the uh, same tribe, anyway.
- Even though I couldn't understand some of it, I was a big fan of the God is a big meaty squirrel story. They ain't nothing to the frontier, other than trying not to die.
- Arthur RedCloud. This guy. This role. If only I could catch snowflakes on my tongue with this fine gentleman.
- That Dreamcast canteen was pretty clutch, huh?
- You know, Glass isn't the only one looking for revenge here. The other instance is probably just as intense, too. Yikes.
- I've actually seen four of the five nominees for Best cinematography, and I'm rooting for all of them, but let me just say: the worst frame of this movie is infinitely better than 99% of what I have seen in my movie going lifetime. Say what you want about the plot, but visually, this film is breathtaking.
- And finally, the long-fought, heard-earned finale. Being that the beginning and middle and were so f--king good, I would have understood if the end had been a bit of a letdown. But, trust me, it isn't. And that final shot? Loved it.
|Good thing this guy's all about customizing his canteens.|
- Fine, I get it, but shooting a f--king horse? Seems like a dick move, even in a sneak-attack. Though, I guess that horse got off easy.
- Yeah, Fitz, lay off the boy. You psychotic piece of shit c--ksucker.
- Hey, I'm all for carrying an injured guy...across flat, sunny land. But this? Well, you've had a good run, haven't you? We'll come get your ass in the Spring.
- I live in a shitty little town in Pennsylvania, and let me tell you, all bullshitting aside, everybody here sounds like Tom Hardy. Even the women.
- Though, for the most part, none of our locals are partly-scalped. Goodness!
- Too much sizzle. I think it was in the third Rambo flick where I first saw a man close a hole in his body via fire. Young m. brown could barely handle Sly sealing up his side. Old m.brown? Well, what that f--ker got? Much, much worse.
- Oh, and speaking of cooking flesh, can we take a minute and cook our damn food, Glass? Hey, your stomach's empty, I get it. But that shit is raw.
- All I had was that boy.
- And finally, Tom Hardy's grade-A f--ker, John Fitzgerald. I understand this man, I do, but holy f--k is he the worst person in the history of America. I'm an asshole, too, no doubt, but damn...even I know when I've taken things too far (even if the continual updating of this blog strongly suggests otherwise).
I actually brought my timid, blood-shy wife to this film, and shocking all of us, not only did she stay awake, but she really enjoyed (though I'm not sure that's the right word to describe how anyone feels about this one) the grueling events of The Revenant. Even the scenes she watched from behind her jacket.
Again, for the record, my wife, someone who in fifteen years has fallen asleep during three out of every four movies we've watched together, not only enjoyed an almost three-hour film, full of realistic, graphic violence (that also had twenty minute stretches of near silence), but stayed awake the entire time!
Shit. Just thinking about it...takes my breath away. Seriously. Like...
I almost died.