31 January 2016

Against The Odds?

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Life begins with us being dragged, kicking and screaming from our mothers vagina, and then it's all downhill from there. Some people are born stupid and will spend most of their lives shoving junk food into their mouths and trying not to bump into any obstacles that don't have the corresponding genitals. For those of you who weren't blessed with stupidity then there are some magical herbs that will help to defend you from your own piece of shit mind. I won't name them but they're famously available in Amsterdam, parts of America, and from a bloke in Liverpool called Billy Baggy. I'm an over-thinker, which means that as soon as it gets dark, my brain likes to torment me to the point that if I worked in a motel, I'd probably be dressing up as it and killing people as they shower. With the magical herbs however, the world is a beautiful place to behold. There's no stress, everything tastes nicer, and things are incredibly entertaining to simply stare at. I once spent about fifteen minutes looking at a door handle because it was just so god-damn fucking shiny and white.

This is all relevant to The Revenant for two reasons.. Firstly, the film seems to be promoting the message that the world is a truly fucking horrible place to live in. One minute it treats you to a glimpse of a cute couple of bear cubs and the next its mother is ripping your balls off. Then it shows you the speed of a magnificent, galloping horse before throwing the poor bastard on its back over a cliff edge and having a character sleep in its gut as though it's a fucking tauntaun. Secondly, it is one of the most gorgeous looking and immersive experiences that I've had since staring at that door handle. I saw the film on a pretty huge cinema screen and as such I found myself so lost in that world that I barely heard the four cunts sat behind us that refused to shut the fuck up. The movie itself is set in 1823 and features DiCaprio as Hugh Glass, one of a gang of hunters and trappers who are attacked by a gang of native Americans and are forced to flee. Shortly afterwards, Glass finds himself attacked by a bear, his son is murdered, and he has to dig himself out of a shallow grave before crawling through freezing temperatures in his bid to get revenge. Not to simplify things too much but the film is essentially about some bloke having a really shit day at work.

I suppose that where this film is concerned, there are two main things that people are constantly banging on about. The first is the intensity of the opening bear attack and the second is the fact that DiCaprio is finally going to get that shiny golden dildo for his performance. In regards to the bear attack, I can confirm that it's as hardcore as you've probably heard. Imagine watching Paddington go cold turkey from his lovely marmalade if he was performed via one of those motion capture suits by Mel Gibson, after being told that DiCaprio was a Jew. In fact, I don't think I've seen a video of a bear mauling somebody that was this brutal since that time some big fat hairy guy started spamming me with his home-made gay porn. However, that's really just one particularly eye catching moment of horror in an especially long film about the misery of existence. Speaking of which, it almost goes without saying that the film owes a huge debt to Herzog, who is one of the world's greatest film-makers and a hero to terminal miserablists like myself.

The Revenant goes to great pains to show the beauty of the landscape with the director insisting that they only use the natural light provided. That obviously sounds like an artistic choice, and you really can't argue with the phenomenal on-screen results, but fuck me some people like to make life harder for themselves! In terms of authenticity, I suppose this film is the David Dunn to something like The Phantom Menace's Mr Glass. Or to put that in a less geeky way.. it's not total shit. However as gorgeous as this film might make the world seem, it also appears to be obsessed with countering this with the brutality of exactly what it takes to survive. To provide a relevant and cheery quote from the great Herzog, “Taking a close look at what's around us, there is some sort of a harmony. It's the harmony of overwhelming and collective murder”. In many ways, this film is a continuation of the absurdist themes of director Iñárritu's previous film Birdman. Except in that film he had Michael Keaton storm semi-naked through a crowd, or fighting an occasionally-erect Ed Norton because nobody could accept that we live in a meaningless world. Here, The Revenant shows us the chaos of our Godless planet, only via a character who seems stuck in a never-ending cycle of violence. They say that revenge is a dish that's best served cold, but here it's so fucking frozen that it's around the sub-zero temperatures that my bitch of an ex once claimed my heart to be.

Which I suppose leads us nicely onto the subject of DiCaprio and the performance that I hope to fuck will win him an Oscar. I mean, I don't give the slightest shit about the Oscars at all, with them being nothing more than the industry's way of fucking its own arse. There's also some controversy around the academy awards right now because, of all the actors nominated, they seem to have forgotten to include any that aren't pure honkey-white. However in the ceremony's defence, Dances With Wolves beating Goodfellas to best film in 1991 proves that they're probably not racist.. they're just constantly fucking wrong. The reason I hope that he wins is because I'm sick to fucking death of people banging on about how he's never won one. So what if he's never won one? Beyond the idea of any one piece of art or performance being ranked alongside another being totally fucking pointless, loads of people that deserve to be recognised are still waiting. The genius cinematographer Roger Deakins has been nominated thirteen times, and the irony is that even this year he's probably going to lose out again to Emmanuel Lubezki for this film. The moral of the story being that unless you're DiCaprio or his agent, and you care that he's not yet won that stupid award, then you're a fucking idiot.

Although I guess that's not so much an appraisal of his performance as it is an indulgent rant regarding the pointlessness of the academy awards, as well as my irritation of what I snobbishly refer to as 'faux film fans'. However, yeah.. he is very good in this. If DiCaprio has to win for a film in which he spends a significant amount of time in frozen water then there's certainly a lot shitter out there to pick from. Not to say that the performance is hugely groundbreaking particularly, but rather that he deserves some credit for the shit that he went through to make it. The behind the scenes stories for the film are quickly becoming the stuff of legend... to be specific, 'the legend of the mad shit they did to film The Revenant'. When we see him in freezing water, he's actually in freezing water; when we see him eating a raw bison liver, he's actually eating a raw bison liver; and when we see him climb naked into a dead horse's guts, he really did climb naked into a dead horse's guts. With that level of realism, I've got my fingers crossed that Iñárritu's next film is entitled 'The Sad And Grizzly Death Of Piers Morgan'.

Having said that however, I don't think I'm being too unfair when I say that DiCaprio is essentially just playing an avatar for the audience to ride the journey through with. As much as The Revenant is about one man's revenge, it's really about Iñárritu's desire to continue his 'what a miserable world' themes, and then challenge himself to the point of insanity. I didn't walk away from the film thinking about the great central performance, but rather I was simply reassured that my grim outlook on life was as correct as ever. Having endured its brilliance for its almost three hour running time, I was pretty sure that as much as I'd loved it, I didn't need to see the film again for some time. However having since enjoyed those magical herbs from Billy Baggy, stared at the doorhandle, and slept on it, I kind of want to see it again. The level of immersion that this film plunges you into really can't be underestimated, which is particularly worth mentioning in a week in which UK cinemas are also screening the stoma-stabbingly awful Daddy's Home. If you thought The Hateful Eight was an engaging film about a gang of sort-of cowboys being stuck in the cold then The Revenant makes that look like a day at the fucking beach. Thanks for reading and see you next time, motherfuckers.




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