Fran Hoepfner's Elevated Cinema: The Revenant
Fran Hoepfner is a comedian and writer in Chicago. She reviews films under the influence.
The Film: The Revenant
The Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
The Year It Came Out: 2015, remember?
How I Watched It: At the theater
Have I Seen It Before?: No
How High Was I?: Still kinda
Okay, So: Well, if you’re dragging your feet even the slightest on seeing The Revenant in theaters, I will tell you: see The Revenant in theaters. If movies want to be Experiences, they should want to be The Revenant. It’s been hours since I left the theater, and I’m still thinking about the snap of every branch, every slow pan over the mountains, the all-encompassing horror and majesty of nature. Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto have crafted one of the most innovative and engaging scores of any other film to come out in this past year. I no longer care about Ennio Morricone at all! I can also safely say that I was never bored watching The Revenant––though, in fairness, that could 100 percent be the result of being high. The pace of it alternates between a heart-stopping footrace and a cautious, pensive crawl (literally). The film deserves to be nominated for Best Picture.
Heard of revenge?
So now that I’ve said all that stuff above about The Revenant, a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio who I guess is going to finally win an Oscar for this, and Tom Hardy from a lot of other movies, a film which very recently won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, a film very much in The Conversation About Film right now, I would like to also and mostly say:
The Revenant is a fucking relentless nightmare and many times throughout the film, I wanted nothing more than for it to end so I could go home! I mean, holy shit! What a miserable time! I really cannot get over it. Any time something happened in this movie, I thought to myself: “wow, ANOTHER thing? This sure is a great movie if you want to see things happen, repeatedly, for a long time, seemingly forever.”
If you’ve managed to stay unspoiled for The Revenant, the very little I will say is this: Leo plays a fur trapper named Hugh Glass who is betrayed by another member of his company, Fitzgerald, Hardy’s character. It’s a revenge movie. It’s nothing besides that. Heard of revenge? That’s what it is.
Leo is going to win an Oscar for this movie. Isn’t that stupid? Leo! For this movie? Every time he breathed or groaned or got naked and crawled inside of a horse, I wanted to shout to the entire theater, “You’re faking!” I knew he was faking. He was obviously faking. He decided the volume of every breath in that film. It was unbearable. I normally come down on the side of “Leo is a good actor who deserves an Oscar,” but wow, not for this movie at all. Who does deserve an Oscar for this movie? I don’t know, the sky, I guess, and maybe mountains, conceptually.
it’s okay if you die naked in that horse; I am going to go home and make hot chocolate.
At many points in the film, I realized how much easier this whole thing would be if they had just shot Glass after he was mauled by a bear. He’s very injured. He’s not in a good place. These guys had so many opportunities to kill Glass, who is just bleeding from every part of his body. I wanted to reach through the screen and grab Leo by his somewhat long hair and whisper, “it’s okay if you die naked in that horse; I am going to go home and make hot chocolate. It is 3 degrees where I live.”
Halfway through the film, I gave up trying to understand anything Fitzgerald was saying. It was just too tough! If the film wanted me to understand Fitzgerald, it would have had me understand Fitzgerald. Iñárritu would have turned to Tom Hardy and said, “Hi, Tom, it’s me, from Birdman. Can you articulate your words so they don’t all sound like one giant word? Thanks!” But he didn’t do that; so the film didn’t need me to understand Fitzgerald; so I gave up on trying. It became almost calming. Tom Hardy would appear on screen, and I would watch his mouth make sounds. What a treat! He is also nominated for an Oscar for The Revenant.
Some fun facts about The Revenant:
Leonardo DiCaprio says my son 10 times during the film. This does not count times he says my boy, son, or someone else says Glass’s son.
No one says the word revenant in the film; so I’ll never know what it means.
Someone, however, says the entire theme of the film at the end of the film, which is generous!
I saw The Revenant and when it ended, I exhaled. I feel like I’m still exhaling. Here is a good thought I’m using to comfort myself during this time of stress: Now that I have seen The Revenant, I never have to see it again. It’s done. I survived it. I crawled on my stomach for three hours through that movie. I don’t know if it was worth it, but I did it, and it’s done.