Dearest Blog: After suffering through The Hateful Eight on New Year's Day, a short-and-cheery flick would have been welcome this week.
Alas, Oscar nominations drop Thursday, so instead I found myself at Marquee Cinemas for another marathon of misery, The Revenant. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers. Survival and revenge are a long and painful road for a man who has lost everything.
Dear reader(s): When I tell you The Revenant is miserable, I mean that happy is not in its dictionary. I do not mean I didn't like it; on the contrary, I absolutely loved it.
Most news about The Revenant focuses on the physical difficulties of making the picture, no doubt to convince the Academy that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves that elusive Best Actor trophy. DiCaprio's Oscar desperation is so palpable the movie might as well have been called, "Please Let Me Win This Time."
Luckily, his performance is mostly brilliant, dipping only the occasional toe into unintentional comedy with his overacting. (To clarify, Leo's deserved an Oscar since Gilbert Grape, but he definitely sells it a little too hard at times.) Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter are equally fantastic, with far less histrionics.
The story is fascinating, beautifully told, but full of deception and brutality. A lovely score underlines the film, taking a quiet backseat but for its powerful climax. The Revenant's real stars, however, are its stunning locations and the expertise with which they're filmed. Magnificent snowy mountains, icy rivers, and majestic forests are presented in such striking big-screen glory it takes your breath away.
I'd ordinarily complain about a runtime so far in excess of two hours, but I happily could have watched two more hours of this beauty. The Revenant runs 156 minutes and is rated R for "strong frontier combat and violence, including gory images, a sexual assault, language, and brief nudity." The Revenant doesn't have many flaws, but, if we're being honest, I'd have forgiven it just about anything for its visual splendor alone.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Revenant gets eight and a half.
(Small bonus for having an actual Weasley!) Until next time...