a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Revenant 2Some people will do anything to get an Oscar. And I mean, ANYthing. Like, for instance, Leonardo DiCaprio in the nauseating “Revenant.” The gratuitous violence against animals just made me sick. Never mind the violence to humans. The first half-hour, 20 minutes or so, is soooo bad that the woman behind me left. Walked right out.

I had turned to her at an Academy-ish screening and warned her “This film is supposed to be really violent, you know.” And she said “Oh, I can take violence. When it’s used properly. Like Quentin Tarantino. I loved ‘Reservoir Dogs.” But she couldn’t take it. She was gone in 20 mins. That’s how disgusting “The Reveanant” is.

And even more appauling were the reviews that were praising it to the skies. Leaving one open, of course. to  being mightily disappointed. Which I was, very.

And after this hyper-violent beginning, we are then treated to two more solid hours of Leonardo doing stunt work. Stunt, after stunt, after stunt. And there’s virtually no dialogue in the film. Yes it’s like a silent movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like silent movies. I LOVED “The Artist.” And Jean DuJardin won a Best Actor Oscar and so did its’ director Michel Hazanavicius. Both were completely unknown at the time, and America, and the Academy fell in love with them.

But “The Revenant” is not that. Its’ star has baggage. Four Oscar nominations, and he’ll probably get another for this. But he won’t win.He never does. And stunt work is not ACTING.

I think the Academy is going to prefer actors who are speaking LINES. Like Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl” or more probably Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo.”

“The Revenant” is beautifully photographed however in natural winter light by two time Academy Award Winner for Cinematography, Emmanuel Lubezski. His lensing is the award-worthy work here. One keeps gasping at the magnificent, snowy vistas. And glad that one is inside and warm.

But after two and a hours even the most stunning of scenic shots grows thin. And that ultra-violent beginning! Yes, Leo gets attacked by a bear. And yes,, as Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report has headlined, it does look like “Leo Gets Fucked by a Bear.”

The bear fight is one of the most unnecessarily violent animal attacks I’ve ever seen on film. Yes, he’s being mauled and nearly eaten, or as Drudge says, fucked. But then you see that there are bear cubs in the background and you realize this is a momma bear, defending her cubs, and wait for it,she’s the only female in the movie.

I really couldn’t stand “Birdman” and I just HATED “The Revenant.” There was no reason for the excessivness of the first, bloody thirty minutes of the movie.

Innaritu, the director, who won an Oscar for Best Director last year, for “The Birdman” is certainly not going to win another one for this. Though he and Leo could both get nominations. And Lubezski, too. , At a budget of $137 million, they will feel overwhelmed at the sheer audacity of the attempt and they will feel they HAVE to give it SOMEthing. Like the bear, it’s too big to ignore.

But for what? After the bear attack, we are then treated to two solid hours of solo stunt work from Leo as he DRAGS himself by his elbows through snow, snow and more snow.  He skins the bear and wears the coat as his fur for the rest of the movie. And we’re shown the WHOLE process. UGH! And he takes the bear’s claws and using it throughout the rest of the film as alternatively a shovel and a weapon and other things. I felt sorry for the bear.

RevenantHe digs holes for himself in snow and ice with the bear claws. He catches fish with his bare hands. His son is killed after he’s buried alive and left for dead by his party of dastardly deed doers. And I just didn’t care. His throat is scarred, too, so that when he DOES finally utter a few lines later in the movie, he sounds just like Harvey Fierstein. And Harvey Fierstein has never won an Oscar.

“The Revenant” is utterly uninvolving. I just didn’t care if he lived or died. And I was always aware that it was LEONARDO DICAPRIO doing all this. For all the facial hair, dirt, grime and lack of speaking, he STILL looks like a kid.

And Innaritu is clearly into audience torture. To make audiences sit for this long and watch all this stupendously photographed STUNTS…and then when he finally gets his hands on a beautiful dappled horse, he slits its’ throat and DISEMBOWELS it! And we see every single bit of innards and intestine that Leo removes. Then he takes off all his clothes! Yes, there’s a nude scene! And  he climbs INSIDE the dead horse for warmth. I understand the warmth part. But he reveals his beautifully toned, young, gym body as well as his still breathtaking ass, and well, THAT threw me out of his character of this trapper, he was trying to create, and into a porno movie scene.

I don’t think the Academy will get through the first 30 minutes of this film, where it’s so violent, it causes walk outs and well, I felt like I myself was going to vomit. No. With a “Saving Private Ryan”like super-gory first few scenes, that’s when the Academy members, who are all older than water, will tune out. They will turn off their screeners at that point just like they did with “Saving Private Ryan”s bloody recreation of the landing of D-Day.

But at least “Pvt. Ryan” was proving a historical and political point. It had some gravitas. But all “The Revenant” has is gore, gore and more gore and snow. And well, I was bored, Leo’s charming nude scene notwithstanding. This is NOT an Oscar performance. It’s stunt work.A blatant attempt at Oscar bait. But I don’t think the Academy is going to rise to it.

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