After yesterday's thoroughly enjoyable flick experience, I was hoping to write another one today for this pic.
I was also hoping to win the Powerball and become a billionaire.
Both hopes turned out about the same.
Despite this being Leonardo DiCaprio, I hoped that he'd finally settled down to start making the movies I think he's probably capable of doing, with some years and seasoning under his belt. Evidently, he thinks he does his best work when near freezing to death.
He is mistaken, as was I.
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's would-be epic tale of survival in the frozen frontier of early 1800's America (and after all, who better to helm such a story than someone from the frozen wilderness of...Mexico? WTF??) is Leo, and a thoroughly unmemorable cast of redshirts, who mainly die off in droves to add some sense of urgency to this Hollywoodized tale of life and brutality in the wilderness.
The villain, some forgettable piece of porkchop who in both the real life 1800s, and five minutes into the movie, would have been picking his teeth off of someone's rifle butt, plays his role as an unredeemable douchebag to the hilt, which is also how he finally goes out, albeit 2 hours too late to suit me. Surprising me not a whit, he has no notion of wound care lore from no harder to find mention than the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, some 1800 years prior, but he does manage to drag God into his excuse for every shitty and villainous act he performs in the flick. Why the studio didn't just make him a child-molesting Catholic priest or a huckstering Protestant con man, and get it over with, is beyond me, but I'll bet someone in Tinseltown is kicking himself right this minute for not going there.
In fact, I've made no secret of the fact that in the utterly shitworthy flick Gravity, by 10 minutes into the movie at most, I was rooting for the debris to kill the entire cast. This movie is Gravity set in the Rockies in the early 1800s.
In true Hollywood fashion, the white men are all worthless, land-raping, Indian-hating, baby killers, while the native tribespeople are all just humble misunderstood noble savages, practicing sustainable living and low-impact low-carbon-footprint subsistence living in harmony with Mother Earth and Father Sky.
The token couple of decent white people are inept, while the Indians are ninja masters of stealth and Chris Kyle-esque archers, and the slob trappers only capable of laying around getting drunk, raping Indians and the wilderness, but bereft of such wilderness rudiments as map-reading, wayfinding, hunting for food, or basic care for injuries.
If he wasn't Leonardo DiCaprio, the Glass character would certainly have died from the collection of dogshit, buffalo chips, mud, piss, and other concoctions slathered on his wounds, sustained by a notable CGI-palooza of a grizzly bear attack, which underlines the salient point that .50BMG is not too much gun for such an encounter. Fortunately, when he's too weak to carry on, burning with fever from infected grizzly wounds after his mauling, and liable to die, his companions helpfully bump, bang, and clatter him all over hell and gone with naught but the bear's skinned hide to protect him from freezing temperatures. No one feeds him or gives him drink (they even leave a gaping hole in his throat to make such care impossible until he thoughtfully adds gunpowder wounds to the hole in his throat (because charred flesh always heals better than a clean cut, right?), but even after being abandoned by his companions (including the Villain - who could ever have seen that clever plot twist coming from Minute 5 of the movie? Okay, every swinging Richard in the theatre, we'll grant you... But Suspension of Disbelief, right? Right??) he helpfully crawls some miles on his belly, navigates down a 500 ft cliff, and then is helpfully revived by bouncing over rapids and rocks after a hasty immersion in 33-degree snowmelt to escape the avenging Indians.
Then he builds a wicked-clever textbook rock fishtrap, but has to resort to catching them with his hands instead of say, using a sharp pointy stick amidst lush forests, and eats them raw rather than slog the 10 feet to his campfire to cook them, because, fuck, I dunno...Gollum...??
Then, fat on trout or salmon, let alone motion picture craft service, he is forced to drag his raw-fish-eating ass to beg for food from a helpfully provided friendly Indian feasting on a convenient wolf-killed buffalo. Which same ravenous wolves somehow managed not to notice Leo's sleeping and injured ass 20 yards away. Evidently Leo didn't smell as bad in the wilderness as the writing does in this steaming pile.
Not to worry though, because after being the only effing one in the entire Great White North to know how to build a brush shelter during a blizzard, the friendly Indian gets whacked by more eeeeeeeeevil white men, the same ones who've kidnapped the Indian girl to serially rape for entertainment while trading with the Indians who killed the American white men because they were looking for the ones who stole the Indian woman who...oh, sweet suffering shit, White Men Bad, Red Men Noble, I get it! Quit beating the audience over the fucking head with that club in every scene, for fuck's sake!
Mind you, you can't take your eyes off the scenes. Because the director and the director of photography are co-conspirators in shoving the camera lens so far up the actor's asses you can see the lens fog when they fart. Apparently they only had 2 lenses, one a wide angle used to get panoramic shots of whereverinhell they shot the wilderness scenes, and one a 2000mm telephoto so they could show you the paramecium crawling on Leo's nose hairs in half the movie, during which he utters no actual dialogue more substantial than grunts of impotent and infirm rage and pain as he struggles to survive to the next page of script, while the audience struggles to find a reason for living.
By the end of this movie, the audience still awake has survived an ordeal far more grueling than anything seen on screen, and the entire cast is so one-dimensional and uninvolving you just want the Yellowstone Caldera to erupt and engulf them all in a well-deserved flaming apocalyptic conflagration.
Then the movie ends, and you wish the same fate would befall the entire chain of jackholes who inflicted this gargantuan pile of offal on the screen, as just punishment. And you envy the bear for being dead, and missing most of the whole saga.
I had hopes that this would be a worthy successor to iconic masterpiece movies like The Big Sky, Jeremiah Johnson, The Outlaw Josey Wales, or Dances With Wolves.
Alas, it is instead kin with movies like Barry Lyndon, Heaven's Gate, Ishtar, and Waterworld.
Maybe they should have just gone with it, and named it Plan 9 From Outer Montana.
Don't see this in the theatre. Don't watch it on cable. Don't even wait for the DVD/BD, or even catch it on Netflix. Buy it bootleg from China for 50 cents, or better yet, wait for it to be on sale in the bargain bin at BigLots! or the 99 Cent Store, and use the discs to make shiny hanging bird-scaring devices for your wife's herb garden.
I won't even go into everything wrong with this beyond that, save this brief catalog of howlers:
No one builds any fire not large enough to roast half a buffalo in; even the Schmohawk Indians here build monstrous huge White Man fires.
Savvy trappers mount no watch. Ever. And can't hunt or fish to save their lives.
Keep showing the map, but keep repeating that only Leo knows how to get us back home. Then, inexplicably, get back without his help.
No one has the slightest clue how to treat wounds, despite such lore, miles from the glories of 19th century medicine, being rather acutely needful on a daily basis.
Indian arrows fly flat and straight, and punch through flesh like crossbow bolts, hitting targets from beyond human sight.
There's no need, camping and trapping among savages, to do anything important like watch a perimeter, pre-load your gear, or do much besides laze around 5-ft tall campfires wondering where room service is.
No one, white or indian, can track even Leo's wounded dragging ass as he crawls along the ground for miles and days, but the indians can miraculously find the evil White Men time after time, apparently by trusting The Force, or using Indian GPS, or some other magical plot device, because Screenwriters.
The Indians will track down an encampment of fifty white men with guns in the middle of nowhere, but when just twenty white men set out to find Leo, the Indians are nowhere around, because Magic Torches.
Indian Strategy: If we just kill enough White men, we'll find the Missing Indian Maiden.
Leo Strategy: if I make it through 37 Unbelievable Ways To Die, I find the Indian Maiden (by accident, because Foreshadowing) and Help, and The Villain, because Screenwriting x Top Billing = Had To Happen, Given 2 1/2 Hours.
When you can't write anything believable, have your star gurgle and sputter and drool, because Method Acting. For Two Solid Hours.
White Man Bad, Red Man Noble. 100 times on the blackboard, lest ye forget. Despite the fact that at the time of Beethoven, railroads, and steamboats, the equivalent Indian civilization "deserved" the land, having successfully slaughtered, raped, and enslaved each other in an endless Stone Age cultural gang-bang going back to the first pre-Eskimoes to navigate across the Bering Sea in prehistory, unencumberd by anything closer than 10,000 years to equivalent Western culture. Because hysterical Historical Revisionism.
My rating: This movie left me totally cold.
And don't bitch to me about spoilers.
This POS was spoiled when it came out of the package.
All I did was give it a sniff.