So…well in advance, let me tell you about something.
In a little over a month, on Christmas Day to be exact, in a few sporadic theaters across the nation (no doubt those big, swanky, urban movie houses with luxurious seats and snooty crowds), you’ll be able to see a new release called “The Revenant.” The movie is based on a book, and of course, book publishers are quick to stamp tramp that shit all over the cover when production is green lit.
Disregard the cheap, intellectually demoralizing announcement. It’s cheese.
The real meat is between the covers.
You can read all about the book at Amazon. Reader reviews are the best, but the Amazon description is painted to entice. I could sit here and embark on my own book review slash literary deconstruction of the book, but I don’t like to do that. Read the summary and decide for yourself.
I will say that the book is very good, very involving, but it’s not for everybody. As I read its meandering American frontier-flavored, visceral, pummeling narrative, I was reminded of one of my favorite modern American novels, “Cold Mountain.” I read “Cold Mountain” before there were any hints of its cinematic manifestation, unlike “The Revenant,” which did in fact signal me that there was a new book to read.
I was one of those sheep. I bought the book because of the movie. But it was not quite so simple.
First of all, as you can tell from this post one year ago, “Birdman” is one of my most esteemed movies of all time. It is a classic. I thought so then and still do. When I learned that the director, Alejandro Iñarritu, was working on a new project that would hit the screens this winter, my ears perked up. I heard the title, had no idea what it signified (and in some respects, still don’t), and from my “behind the scenes” perspective, saw that it was a major production that was obviously being groomed to receive the same accolades that “Birdman” did, I did some more digging. I discovered it was based on a book authored in 2002 by author, Michael Punke. And the full title included the melodious and cryptic afterthought: “A Novel of Revenge.”
My curiosity was piqued. I purchased the book and read it over the span of a week.
As I mentioned, I believe the book is very well-written and involving. I loved its frontier spirit and its researched and reconstructed efforts at portraying life in the early 19th Century American frontier, but one thing struck me.
This is not a complaint. In fact, it might be a resounding compliment, especially given the nature of Hollywood’s modern feminized pablum product. The novel, set in the harsh winter of the American Midwest along with killer Indians and killer bears, is no place for the weak of mind or body or spirit. These fur trappers were the real deal. They lived off the land, bore the brunt of a cruel environment, ate what they needed to survive, killed who they needed to thrive, and denied natures recalled in order to scrape through. They were primitive beasts of nature and wymyn had no place in such an environment. Except for a screw, at most, and the only women in the frontier available for such frivolity were American Indians. So guess the results. These were real men. They didn’t cry about Beta rage, foodie-ism was a foreign concept, and the concept of “comfort” was the realm of a forgotten, pussified life. Rough and strong to the core. As 21st Century men, we share absolutely nothing in common with this generation of frontiersman.
Ultimately, the book, on its surface, was a fine read; on its forthcoming cinematic level, however, I was left with one puzzle.
There were no female characters.
There was no room for them. Women were referred to in the abstract, from past lives, from childhood, from that existence that predated the frontier life. But there were no women now, in this wild land, to accompany the men in their harrowing journeys. These men were alone. Women could not cope with such a ruthless, physically-trying life. Women’s strength lives above the cervical vertebrae. They do no not eat animal refuse, they do not sip marrow, and they do not burrow into earthy divots to stay warm.
“The Revenant” was about men, for men. No females intruded. This is the antithesis of Hollywood’s modern Formula For Success. I wonder how such a movie can prosper in today’s egalitarian climate. Apparently Alejandro Iñarritu, emboldened by his success last year, has no fucks to give. He obviously hasn’t caved into the formula judging by the cast list for “The Revenant”:
Over 40 actors, and only 1 female. Is this not the recipe for an SJW uproar? I’m sure that’s coming. Feminists will dramatically wonder where the strong female trappers are rightfully represented in this cast. Hmm. Ronda Rousey is out.
Perhaps the fact that the token female is an American Indian (is she?) might offset the Social Rage. We can only hope…although, judging from Huff Post, the spectacle to be made of this actress will overshadow the contributions of the male actors in this movie.
What will we do!?
This movie is obviously primed for notoriety and success. Every minority group cries when its fictional reps are not represented correctly in the typical Hollywood cast; I guess women are next becuase “The Revenant,” truthfully, does not humor their flighty whims.