The first ten days of 2016 have been bountiful in terms of the crop of distinctive movies. In the last week, I have seen a Bollywood production WAZIR, a Lollywood venture JO MANN CHAHE and yesterday night it was the turn of the Hollywood presentation titled THE REVENANT. I rated the first two movies as very good giving them 4 out of 5 stars. And my reason for wanting to see THE REVENANT was not merely because I expected my string of luck to continue. I had seen the trailer of this movie last week (it had been released in the US on Christmas Day a fortnight back) and that was quite thrilling. But most trailers are thrilling! The second reason was that Leonardo Di Caprio was in the film and there was a brief shot of his getting mauled by a grisly in the movie. More about that scene in the main body of this review! The third reason was that this was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, the same person whose BABEL I had liked immensely in 2007. Quite honestly, his having won three Oscars last year for his BIRDMAN (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) didn’t add to my reasons simply because I couldn’t quite relate to that movie the first time I saw it.Perhaps it merits another viewing for me to be able to understand and appreciate the movie. But what really pushed me into seeing this yesterday was the news that THE REVENANT had won the Golden Globe Award for the best movie.
Having spent innumerable man hours in poring over vocabulary books about forty years back, I can say with a degree of certainty, that I have known the meaning of all Hollywood titles that I have come across. THE REVENANT was going to be the first exception to this and I have now understood it to mean a ghost (or a person coming back from the dead) whose sole motive is revenge and seeking to avenge the injustice done to the person when he was alive.
Few movies I have seen have engaged me in the past in a manner that THE REVENANT gripped me from the very beginning. Unfortunately, all these movies have been horror movies. THE REVENANT is not a horror movie; it is a rather graphic depiction of a true series of events that happened in the 1820s in America. Shot against the backgrounds of some visually superb winter locales, the colours that come on the screen are the white of the ice and snow, the brown and the black of the men and the horses and the bears and the blue of the skies. Of course, I must not forget the red of the blood of the men and the animals. The scene in which Leornado is mistaken by the mother grisly to be a threat to the young cubs and which prompts the grisly to attack is an unforgettable scene. When I next visit the wooden tracts in US and Canada, this scene is bound to come back to haunt me. Another scene ( which could have easily slipped into gory terrain in the hands of a less capable director) that is skilfully filmed is the one in which Leonardo pulls out the insides from a dead horse to use the carcass as a sleeping bag for the night to protect him against the cold. But Leornado is not just battling the weather or the barrenness. Given up for dead, he summons remarkable strength of mind and body to finally come to terms with his son’s killer. The last encounter in which he switches roles with a dead person to trap the killer is another masterpiece. I could go on and on, but the easier thing for you, the reader, to do would be it see this production, which I am sure would be an Oscar winner. But only, if you are not a weak hearted person and if you can digest the violence!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
January 12, 2016