The Revenant

The Revenant. Second viewing (the first). I appreciate it so much more this time around. Jumping out this time were the recurring trees that save his life or support him throughout. (“The wind cannot defeat a tree with strong roots. If you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you see its stability.”) Like when he uses a branch as a cane. Or when injured, he’s hauled on a pallet of branches. When leaving his son for the last time, he turns away and props himself on a tree trunk. When escaping downriver, he floats on a log. He’s sheltered by an impromptu branch hut during a storm, a tree breaks his fall from a cliff, a tree branch makes a decoy when trying to lure Fitzgerald out of hiding. I also liked the nature interludes – elk crossing a river, buffalo stampede, avalanche – that make this epic tale seem so small, and nature indifferent.

The Revenant

The Revenant. I still hold to my first reaction:

I wish THE REVENANT were wilder, of all things. Camera makes you feel not like you’re there, but like you’re on an Arctic ride on rails. Or a videogame cut scene? I liked it though. Looked like the most miserable filming experience one could ask for. Also, Tom Hardy has never lost a staring contest.

A bit of a slog. Doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of meat on those bones. Birdman also felt a bit stifling for me. Amazing that this thing got made, though. I wonder if all the PR talk about the filming conditions was sort of an admission/cover that they didn’t quite get what they wanted out of this one.

See also: The Grey and Grizzly Man.

Birdman

Birdman. Not for me. But like I said, If you like reading writers writing about how hard writing is, and also acting, you might like it. I appreciate the one-camera, no cuts constraint, but it feels claustrophobic after a while. Sweet soundtrack. Keaton is still the man.