THE REVENANT and CORMAC MCCARTHY

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  • 17 Jan 2016 at 4:37 am #8007

    Richard L.
    Member

    If you have not yet seen THE REVENANT yet, you’ll want to steer clear of this thread until you do.

    Otherwise, reading this might spoil the movie for you.

    THE REVENANT is being discussed in forums across the web, compared as it should be, with some of the works of Jack London and Cormac McCarthy. and also to others such as Vardis Fisher and Walter Van Tilburg Clark.

    It is a stunningly beautiful movie, telling a tale of violence with poetic and beautiful visual images. It is a naturalism that has not been filmed since JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and in many ways, THE REVENANT goes beyond that film with its symbols.

    Notice how the dead fall into the tracks of the dead Other. This was no accident and must have been done deliberately. There are numbers here, paired doppelgangers and equations. I’ve only seen the film once, but it seems to me that Glass was moving like the dying bear at the end of the movie.


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    17 Jan 2016 at 9:40 am #8008

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Shot the goddamn bear?


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    19 Jan 2016 at 2:13 am #8009

    cantona
    Member

    Couldn’t agree more with almost all of Richard L’s comments above. I say almost because I’m still pondering his comments about the ending. Scratches Leo-type beard. I really do think this movie will attain classic status, far beyond all that award season nonsense, in the years to come. Watch this movie and then never complain again that you’ve had a tough week.


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    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  cantona.
    19 Jan 2016 at 9:40 am #8011

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: Shot the goddamn bear?

    Yep. Spoiler alert.

    Re: the symbols

    Both the preemptive violence and the vengeful violence are doubled up in the humans and can be seen in the bear–all this overtly–but, as with BIRDMAN, there are more subtle symbols aplenty.

    It opens and closes with the darkness and the Breath of God, the tree of life emerging, the fire falling from the sky, the men emerge from the SUTTREE-opening-scene-like swamp with their guns at the ready, as if to say, as BLOOD MERIDIAN’s Judge has it, that even before Man got here, war was waiting for him.


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    19 Jan 2016 at 4:14 pm #8014

    DarlBundren
    Member

    I was definitely reminded about Mccarthy when I saw the movie. Hardy’s character even seemed to experience a ‘Lester Ballard-like’ state of mind at the end. However, I don’t believe that the film was nearly as successful as one of Mccarthy’s books. It was interesting but there were many weak points for me. In the end, it was the old homo homini lupus revenge flick. If you want to see something similar, but better I’d recommend Lisandro alonso’s los muertos.


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    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  DarlBundren.
    21 Jan 2016 at 7:36 am #8027

    cantona
    Member

    Richard L. I watched it again today, and now understand your thoughts about the ending a little more. Any ideas on the symbol scratched on Glass’s water container? It reminded me a little of a gyre, but I’m probably wrong in thinking that.


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    21 Jan 2016 at 4:29 pm #8030

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: the symbol scratched on Glass’s water container

    As in NCFOM, water is nurturing spirit, but as for the design….

    I think it is there for recalcitrance, but to me it is the spiral–which is recalcitrant enough. There are connections to the spiral in Celtic and in some of the Native American myths, there is even a Spiral Tarot Deck for sale on Amazon, but to me the spiral represents the eternal road, the eternal return, and the algorithm of the DNA spiral.

    I know there are some here who object the algorithm model of DNA, but there is nothing else that mathematically represents the shape-shifting qualities of DNA. Many religious people object to the very idea of comparing humans with computers, yet as a model, the algorithm suggests a Designer, and one with a sense of humor.

    The Russian experiments domesticating foxes surprisingly gave them creatures very much like dogs, with other associated traits like canine coat colors, which were not bred for but occurred anyway, suggesting that such things appear linked in DNA. This could explain the jumps in human evolution so puzzled over by anthropologists.

    Such jumps in DNA evolution appear like the “Easter eggs” programmed in some computer games, as well as in some novelists’ texts. Some of us think that the blank page in the first edition of BLOOD MERIDIAN, equaling the Judge’s weight in pounds, was one such Easter egg, and I suspect that there are others yet to be discovered. After Herman Melville’s MOBY DICK.

    Our large brains, much larger than necessary for the survival of otherwise primitive man, seem to have been something of an Easter egg.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_(media)


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    22 Jan 2016 at 3:19 am #8031

    Greg S.
    Member

    I went to see the film last night and was pleasantly surprised. (I had prepared myself mentally for extreme overacting and sensuous, gratuitous violence, but Inarritu offered a much more organic view, and, given the 2.5 hour duration, I only found myself shifting butt cheeks to relieve strain towards the — mostly predictable — end.) Yes, the spiral or “swirl” really popped out at me last night. It is one of the oldest symbols and cuts across cultural lines. I’ve seen it on Minoan pottery and (East) Indian art. I found reference to a Quapaw swirl that allegedly symbolizes the four directions. I believe that the son was Pawnee. The Pawnee, too, appear to have been very star and direction oriented in their mound construction, etc. Without being an expert or having read up on it much, I think the swirl reverberates on multiple levels. I even found a good summary of interpretations on the web somewhere.

    — Femininity. It might even be seen as a symbol of the lost mother.
    — Primal Nature, the natural world. This also ties in with the circular nature of the seasons, year, and expands on to the image of the cosmos and the idea of eternal return. Pushing this even further, you get into the realm of mathematical truth: the golden ratio and, as Richard mentions, DNA.
    — Change. Partiularly suited to the period of dominance and destruction by the white man, etched on a metal canteen (linked to water as well!).
    — Spirit. The “fifth element” Quintessence. Often symbolized by circles and spirals. An attempt to preserve spirituality in the machine age.


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    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  Greg S..
    22 Jan 2016 at 10:54 pm #8042

    cantona
    Member

    Greg S: Thanks for your detailed delineation of the spiral’s different meanings. It was very helpful.

    I found the character Fitzgerald very interesting. Horrible villain though he surely is, it is possible to view him as exploited labour: an unhappy worker-slave in the realm of necessity, belligerently railing against his bosses, a fur company operating under the aegis of the US government. This is why I believe it is important not to allow the profound mysticism to obscure the movie’s political themes. Incipient state-organized capitalist exploitation is the very material evil about to ‘civilize’ this world. It is quite telling that Fitzgerald uses the word ‘necessity’ to describe the scarcity of choice in the hunters’ situation; it is also telling that he is the one to observe that there is a world of difference between being alive and living a life. For instance, there is a very powerful scene back in the fort in which he is told by the leader named Henry that the cost of the supplies that he bought on the expedition will exceed any monies earned. The shock of this news is evident in the way that Fitzgerald drunkenly stumbles out of the bar and falls in the snow. All that baleful energy and labour-time for nothing: alive but barely existing in the realm of necessity. All that Fitzgerald has to sustain him now is his own realm of freedom fantasy: escape to Texas so he can ‘live’ on his own land. Sheeit, I almost felt sorry for him. The spectre of Marx is another revenant in this movie.


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    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  cantona.
    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  cantona.
    23 Jan 2016 at 5:46 am #8047

    DarlBundren
    Member

    By the way, If you have liked The Revenant, you may be interested in watching Man in the Wilderness which is based on the same story.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067388/?ref_=nv_wl_img_3


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