Friday, February 26, 2016

'The Revenant'- reading between the lines

Preface: There is a reason that the main protagonist’s photo isn’t shown but that of the supporting character.
The Revenant is basically a story of an injured person building a strong will to stay alive to take revenge on the person who killed his son.

Caught between practical thinking and an indebtedness to Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), The Revenant takes us through the journey of the two extremes of human emotions when faced with survival decisions.

John Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hardy) can be called as a negative character but how many of us can be selfless when you have to make a survival decision. Survival, in this context, is about life. It could be survival in business or at work or survival of a relationship. Hugh Glass’ character’s will to be alive can be seen by his willingness to do anything- eat bone marrow off a carcass and raw flesh of a bison to taking out the guts of a dead horse and using the horse’s body as a cave to survive biting cold. Time and again, history is replete with examples of willpower or shall I say mindpower to survive physical extremes.

Bridger’s character (played by Will Poulter) shows the frailty of human emotions. Wanting to do the right thing yet not being able to stand up to the virtues of righteousness.

The Revenant, shot beautifully in cold, icy mountains and streams, it is a metaphor for life. Beautiful, only if you have the eyes to see it, or else, it is simply a piece of barren land.

The last scene of the movie where Glass is about to kill Fitzgerald, Fitzgerald says to Glass that he had come a long way to take revenge and now that he is getting a chance to kill him, enjoy it, because Glass, anyway, isn’t getting his son back. This is one of the most poignant scenes. Makes you think about ‘revenge’ as a reason for live. Alternatively, if Glass did not have revenge on his mind, he would have given up hope and long been dead.

Understanding this dichotomy of life and accepting it is the secret to having control over your mind.

PS: For all the love for Leonardo DiCaprio, chances are that you’ll come out remembering Fitzgerald more than Glass. Had it been any other actor in Glass’ role than Leonardo DiCaprio; Tom Hardy would have been the star of the movie. Leonardo might even win an Oscar for Actor In A Leading Role but Jordon Belfort’s character in Wolf of Wall Street was his zenith. Alejandro González Iñárritu, too, might win an Oscar for Best Director but Birdman was a better movie. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

ROOM- what the Director wanted us to see

The ‘Room’ is a metaphor of our lives. How we believe what is in front of us, and consider all other things as unreal. The innocence of Jack’s character (played by Jacob Tremblay) in the movie makes us smile when he wishes ‘good morning’ to the Wardrobe, Sink, Plant in his room. At the end, when he says ‘bye’ to them, it shows that age shouldn’t make us practical but let our emotions speak for themselves.

In one of her endeavours to try to escape from the Room, Joy, Jack’s mother (played by Brie Larson) tells her son that she had to make a story about the outside world because he was too young to understand. Now, she was un-lying because he is old enough to understand. It tells us that we need to learn and unlearn, and not take all our learning to the grave. That is ‘perspective’, the director is talking about.  

The Director wants us to understand the different aspects of a growth of child. Dr. Mittal’s character (played by Cas Anver) speaks of a tender transition of Jack from ‘being in a room all his life’ to the outside world. He speaks of cognitive-sensory level, depth perception, auditory processing. All these aspects have come out beautifully in the film. One, Jack only answers to this mother in her ear when someone asks him a question. Two, he hides his face in his palms when he sees a new person in the hospital.

Dr. Mittal is relieved that Jack has come out of isolation at an age when he is still malleable. He uses the word ‘plastic’. It fits in perfectly with the storyline where Jack is learning what is real and what is unreal.

The second half of the movie depicts the different sets of emotions that Jack and Joy go through. Jack’s emotions with the surroundings whereas Joy’s emotions with her Mother (Played by Joan Allen), Father (played by William H. Macy)s and step-father (played by Tom McCamus) . Joy feels that she always kept Jack with herself because she wanted him. She has an inner guilt that she did not try earlier to free Jack from isolation. Her predicament makes her attempt a suicide.

‘Room’ shows the entire gamut of emotions of its characters.   

Room grows on you slowly. It is almost creepy at the start. As the full ensemble of the lives of Jack and Joy show itself, you understand the magnitude of how much the story will make you think.

PS: I loved the way the movie title ‘Room’ has been put in a rectangular box. Again, a metaphor about the silos that we make ourselves live into.