[CRITICAL] THE REVENANT

READ ALSO, our counter-critique of the film

Avec Birdman, mexican director Alejandro González Inárritu is spent in another dimension, in particular through the recognition of the hollywood industry, which was rewarded at the Oscars. If there has always been in his films a sense of performance and a desire to be noticed, it has taken a step further with THE REVENANT and his shooting in complicated conditions, only in natural light (thank you Emmanuel Lubezki).

The symbol of this megalomania is apparent in one of the memorable scenes from the film : the attack of the bear. Filmed in a sequence shot of about ten minutes, it is spectacular technically but also incredibly time-consuming for us, who are immersed in a nightmare where no outcome is embodied in the absence of cut. The risk with a proposal so radical is that it can annihilate itself by the way for pure razzle-dazzle free. Because what is remarkable is open to criticism. But the strength of the film ofInárritu is that its staging is struck by the grace of the evidence, as if it could not be otherwise, and that it should not exist in this form. What does it matter if the scenario is on 3 lines, you want to say that this is not what counts with THE REVENANT. Everything is in the symbolic : Glass is injured, he is giving up and is buried, as a first death. Then he comes out of his coffin of earth and will start its renaissance. The title was announced : it is a ghost. First he crawls, then, is a second skin, you get up to walk again to go to the end of his revenge. More than to be a ghost, Glass has the air of starting from scratch, to be reborn. The scheme of the film is announced from the first scene where Glass says to his child these words : “As long As you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe… Keep breathing.” and that is just what he will do during the movie. All of this is detectable, the film goes straight to the essential without taking tweezers and this is not what it was more interesting to propose as reading is explicit. Because THE REVENANT is primarily a pure movie scene.

The use of the fixed plane is restricted, the camera follows the movements and action to keep us in suspense. It is in agreement with the main character, who also must always move forward to achieve his goal. And when Glass is stopped, it continues to be moving, coming closer to him so that we are in harmony with what he endures, the image of these big plans in the short focal length on his face. All of a sudden, this is no longer the staged premium, but the set of Leonardo DiCaprio, totally concerned and who gives of his person, as few actors do in an entire career. If he had not a filmography as impressive, it looks like he just found the role of his life. Because you cannot reduce what it does to the mere physical performance where he finds himself manhandled in extreme conditions. To convince ourselves, let’s take a scene where it is restricted to mobility. John Fitzgerald suggested he shorten his suffering, and he just blink your eyes to accept the offer. The camera, which was remote to frame the two men, approached Glass and everything goes by the game of the american actor, by his eyes and mouth. Alejandro González Inárritu realized that he had in his hands two masses (DiCaprio and his camera) that respond to, complement, and which can only thrive because the other is at his service. There is therefore more than just these two items and the rest goes to the second plan.

“The staging of Inárritu is struck by the grace of the evidence, as if it could not be otherwise.”

Sophistication formal is not opposed to the construction of the discourse but contributes to reinforce it. This survival does not need to do tons of writing because it can engage us by the image, via a staging bastard who refuses the cut , while offering the assembly in the same plane. The camera vogue, as guided by an energy which is instinctive. Has the release of Birdman, we had been taken aback by such a display of tape-to-eye with which it was not always a match between the form and the bottom, although the final result was a certain virtuosity. With THE REVENANT, Inárritu is in a space between the two interesting. It is in a picture drawn, because it takes advantage of the technical capabilities of the film of 2016, while returning to a sort of basic state where the only motivation is to continue filming, at all costs. As if the cinema, the image of the hero, were looking, and then rise again. It is for this reason that, with the minimum of characterization, empathy works. Because the mexican director has found the exact formula to give substance and form. The episodes are painful for Hugh Glass as much as they are for us. THE REVENANT is a film that should be able to cash out. First, because it is radical, going to the end of his leitmotif formal without breaking a sweat. But also because it is necessary to have the faint of heart to attend to the excesses of violence, filmed with a frontality that brings us back to what the man has more primitive.

In fine, the interaction between the spectator and DiCaprio reaches its climax. We have had the courage to follow it for 2: 30, to go through what he has endured, remaining always close to him. When he sees his wife for the last time, she looks at him and then goes away, leaving the framework. The camera that had spent her time in spinning, is fixed because this vision is a fantasy, a body animated only by the force of the thought that he must not follow, at the risk of losing too. What is nice is that the camera, by the refusal of the movement, responds to the hero, prevents him from following this path because it needs to live again. His vengeance is not a purpose for him, but as a phase of its new departure, an exorcism. This disappearance of the phantom that haunted him throughout the film leaves it alone, haggard. Since there is no person, he turns toward us with a look camera. Communion final through the dissolution of the 4th wall. This effect of style, although difficult to handle, as that could fall flat by opportunism, is used to good effect in the extent that it does not respond to a need to get noticed, but just want to achieve the result of a guideline for setting a scene. This is why Alejandro González Inárritu delivers his film, the more successful and higher scoring.

Maxime Bedini

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