The Revenant A.K.A. “Shoot, Punch, Crawl, Starve, Eat, Stab: The Movie” Review

Minor spoilers, most of which were already spoiled in this movie’s trailers, incoming.

dicaprio the revenant oscar gif

After watching The Revenant at a recently-upgraded theater near me last week, I had an insatiable craving for meat — blistery-red, fleshy cuts of any animal living or dead. I am not being facetious in any way. This film drove the cinematic experience straight through my carnivorous, male forebrain and polished it with a coating of warm, irony blood on its way down to my gut bag.

Dead serious. On the way home, I took a detour to Meijer’s store-of-everything and sniffed my way to a refrigerated trough of four-dollar-a-pound rib steak. It was a fucking travesty of butchered cow, and I still don’t know how to cook anything besides Suddenly Salad, but the meat’s honest cheapness left room for kitchen experimentation. I picked up four packages of this shit along with a stiff bottle of A.1. hickory sauce to wash it down (just in case).

I have to say, The Revenant does a tremendous job respecting the basic human desires of staying warm, adhering to your contractual agreements, and consuming mystery-protein in a frozen wasteland. I think this movie takes place in the 1700’s, but it honestly could be set in any post-apocalyptic nightmare dreamed up by beaver-skinning distopian malcontents. You, by all your senses, feel the isolated desperation of the characters and what they have to do just to survive…and strangely you also feel the need for a decent farmers almanac.

jack nicholson frozen gif

That reminds me — there were a lot of lingering “weather scenes” in this movie. They are so prevalent, director Alejandro González Iñárritu may have accidentally invented “weather porn,” or something. Yup, just staring at a dull, endless sky; staring at a pale sun struggling through a milky haze; now, we’re on a cliff staring at some sailing clouds. I heard this director only used natural lighting, so maybe he had nothing else to do for stretches of hours but point the camera upwards until he was able to film people.

But getting back to the plot…A mute, hobbled Leonardo DiCaprio actually scrapes frozen strings of rotting rib-meat from a horse, deer, or elk skeleton and slurps it up with glee! He maws on the salty belly of a live hand-caught fish — with gay abandon — just like The Penguin in Batman Returns. DiCaprio (I keep forgetting his character’s name) chomps and gnaws on a dripping, raw buffalo liver while inexplicable fires light his dining experience. He eviscerates a horse’s stomach and — well, there’s actually more to the story than eating. There is actually much more grunting and crawling, but I still couldn’t believe how hungry this movie made me for a medium-rare steak.

While indulging The Revenant, lounging in a leathery La-Z-Boy® in the very top-back row, a senior couple beside me sighed loud, concerning breaths synchronized with every bite, stab, punch, shot, and fall. I wondered: Haven’t they ever seen a thousand-pound bear stomp and batter someone’s head into the dirt, or carve someone’s back with six-inch razor claws like a julienne potato? And even though I enjoyed the movie with all of its meat and weather porn, their audible interruptions really pulled me out of the experience.

penguin batman returns fish gif

That’s when I wish I hadn’t gone to see this sold-out movie on opening day.

Now, I do recommend seeing The Revenant in a decent theater and on the largest screen possible. Total immersion into this voluminous world is a mindfuck I haven’t experienced since watching The Wicker Man (2006). Just wait until it’s almost ready to be excised from your local cinema to make way for some generic, anthropomorphized animated feature, or another defecated reboot and/or remake.

You should work towards being as isolated, hungry, and cold as possible to help induce the movie’s effects. Do not bring your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.; be the one who sees The Revenant on a random Sunday at noon just because you’re bored and you were too lazy to call anyone. Sit in a corner if you have to.

I really encourage you to think about that. Months later, if you have to watch it at home instead of a dark theater, and there are any distractions or common city noises, I guarantee you will enjoy this movie much less.

The Revenant deserves your complete attention for the potential experience — not its individual parts. The actors are very good, and I won’t name them all because they’re on IMDB. The music takes a backseat to stunning visuals. The story is predictable and not without some superfluous flashbacks(?) about Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife and kid. I still don’t know what the hell that was all about after the tenth dream/vision/near-death experience. Maybe it was meant to be confusing…but could it be a slick metaphor for a man’s struggle to obtain an unreachable goal? I could give a shit less, really.

That’s why I wish there were more fights! So far, I remember a lot of visions, meat, and inclement weather, but I really wanted to see more massive unbridled deathmatches.

There is a huge, skull-cracking battle between some wayward beaver trappers and the local Native Americans at the beginning of the movie. Then there’s a bear attack. It was all bloody well-done: the perfect catalyst to an entire misadventure. And then DiCaprio is buried alive, and you hope he gets his revenge on the man who betrayed him, but there seems to be much less driving action and intensity afterwards. It sort of felt unbalanced in the end…almost depressing, but I enjoyed it enough for a revenge tale.

Speaking about being unbalanced — as in a “dead” person who cannot stand or walk on both legs — I cannot leave until I mention The Revenant’s most ridiculous scenario.

Yes, DiCaprio is graced with a miracle recovery exceeding Bruce Wayne’s healed broken back via “prison-punch therapy” in The Dark Knight Rises. The man’s ankle seems like it was twisted and busted into Misery-level incapacitation. We get many pristine views of DiCaprio’s dragging leg; and there is no way, especially for a movie loosely based on a real story set in historic times, that anyone would believe that he could almost totally unfuck his foot just by eating a few thousand calories and “staying off of it” for a few miles.

misery hobbling gif

The difference with Bruce Wayne is that he was also Batman in a semi-fictional comic book universe, and we never actually see details of his internal back injury on-screen. Wayne also received specific medical attention for his back, even if it was absurd and not approved by the American Chiropractic Association. However, DiCaprio painstakingly lugs his leg around for a straight hour of run-time, crawling his way through frozen snow and earth. He had numerous gushing wounds, exhausting blood loss, ground beef for a throat, and infectious ooze squeezing from his makeshift stitches.

Alright! Time to make that steak!


 

I give The Revenant a solid MEAT/10.

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10 thoughts on “The Revenant A.K.A. “Shoot, Punch, Crawl, Starve, Eat, Stab: The Movie” Review

      1. though I like Leonardo de Caprio very much I am going to give this a miss! the review seems almost like watching the gory innards of the whole movie! and should do for me.have you reviewed any movie of my top favourite Ryan Gosling?

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        1. I think I liked the Revenant moreso for reasons of artistic accomplishment. But I don’t think I have really watched anything Gosling was in…what do you suggest? Wasn’t he in that gangster squad movie?

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  1. yes of course I am sure of that. I probably will watch it because both of them are good actors, Caprio and that guy who is mean to him, I forget his name – Tom something I think who was in an excellent offbeat movie where he is in a car and carries the whole movie. It is very good. Ryan Gosling was in a very nice movie where he has a psychological problem and lives in this little village or small town and he buys a woman, a doll from the internet to be with him. I have seen every movie of his and find him even better or as good as Caprio. He was in one political thriller with Cloony which was also nice. But the first one is really worth watching. It was not one of those sentimental weepy ghastly movies they make about people with disabilities. It was very watchable. I think I have bored you enough with Gosling! But Blue Valentine was perhaps the best, here I go again…..

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    1. Tom Hardy is awesome. I love him as Mad Max and Bane, too! My favorite DiCaprio movie is The Departed — I’ve seen that one about 20 times. I’m watching some Gosling trailers…I would like to see Gangster Squad — that looks good. Blue Velvet…well, I could like that because it kind of reminds me of Sweet and Lowdown in a way. I’ll have to let you know sometime what I thought. He is a very good actor. I can tell.

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  2. What a wonderful review !! A huge movie buff myself I felt like rewatching the movie again.And really really happy that he got the much deserved Oscar this time. Personally I think he should have won it last year for Wolf of Wall street.That scene where he overdoses on drugs and does everything except stand on his feet !!! Woaaah.

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    1. Thank you! I think he should have got the oscar for The Departed…love that movie. I’m glad to hear from another movie buff like myself. Wolf of Wallstreet was ok for me (my favorite scene was the one you mentioned!), but I was much more moved by The Revenant.

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      1. Yes true, the Wolf of Wall Street was more of a commercial flick but Leo’s acting in it was how do I put it,”world class” is not good enough to describe what I feel. Might be biased also since I am his huge fan 😀 The Departed ,oooh yes. Another of his stellar performance. I guess it would come after these two for me 🙂

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