Back in November I finished the book and had equally great hopes for the movie in spite of a certain leading man whom director Alejandro Iñarritu chose to cast for the part of Hugh Glass.
The Revenant, the novel, was splendid, thoughtful and striking.
Alejandro Iñarritu’s “Birdman” last year left me similarly smitten.
And now, I was torn. A novel (which I loved) brought to the big screen by a director (whose previous work I loved), and starring Leonardo DiCaprio (who I absolutely detest).
DiCaprio is pap disguised as quality, a popular theme in Hollywood these days. Got a good script, an original idea, a groundbreaking approach? Let’s bring Leonardo DiCaprio into the picture; he’ll fuck up your flow, and worse, reverse that innovative genesis and turn it into a regurgitation of Hollywood tropes minus the charm.
Leonardo, superstar, the dictator of productions and directorial decisions (just because he can), is tone deaf when it comes to cinematic trailblazing. He does big, he does spectacular, and he does the same shit over and over and over and he guts anything good with his subterranean sense of artistry. Over and over, and the dense American public eats it up.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid this is precisely what happened with The Revenant. Leonardo rode in on his derivative horse, raped a wonderful novel and left the husk of a tattered concept in its wake.
How in the world does Leonardo do this every time?
He’s such a high-value Hollywood icon today, it’s impossible to assume he has no say in how his scripts are chosen and how they ultimately manifest themselves on the big screen (especially when the director carries up the rear in the “cred” factor). Nope, I should have listened to my instincts when I learned he was cast as Hugh Glass.
I should have, 1) saved my money for something else, 2) left my brains at home, 3) left my memories of the novel at home. This would have been the only way I could have possibly enjoyed such a monstrous, destructive and unoriginal movie.
I only feel impelled to write this post tonight because the movie is a contender for the Best Picture award at the Oscars (which are trudging along as I type). Otherwise, there is no way in the world I felt such a moribund exercise in non-creativity as The Revenant could possibly warrant more than 2 minutes of my blog time – and I saw this movie over a month ago. So forgettable, so unbloggable.
I work with a woman who thinks Leonardo DiCaprio is the greatest thing since sliced bread (which she apparently enjoys a bit too much, among other culinary accoutrements) and she’s an intelligent woman, but she is ignorant as shit and is intellectually lazy. This toxic combination of early 21st Century American enigma encapsulates my estimation of all things Leonardo.
See, when it comes to Leonardo DiCaprio, he is a hollow bastion of creativity. You see this?
That stupid-ass expression, that repetitive, recursive, descending series of stupid eyeful expression, over and over, devouring all contexts and nuance, over and…over. It’s Leonardo. Snow, sun, blizzard, destruction, genesis…that fucking blitzkrieg blue-eyed stare never wavers:
this is about me; and sadly, there ain’t much to me.