With “The Revenant,” Alejandro González Iñárritu pulls off a wonderful vision with amazing cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, posing the wilderness of South Dakota as something of an omnipresent force that works against every single character from the moment we step on to the snow covered woodlands. “The Revenant” works around a simple tale of revenge and enduring the elements all to convey the sheer unforgiving world that protagonist Hugh Glass has to venture across simply to avenge his own son. The weather and terrain holds no prisoners and garners zero bias, enduring the war of man and being covered in the blood of the violated while offering as much punishment as it’s dealt. Director Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” is a grueling epic that views what lengths main character Hugh Glass is willing to go through to ensure justice is served.
One of the main aspects about “The Wolf of Wall Street” that I loved is that through and through Jordan Belfort is an unapologetic amoral hedonist. When we see him in the opening, right until the final moments of the film, he’s barely apologetic and really misses the days when he swam in money, women, and recreational drugs. Because deep down he felt be earned what he sewed, and right until his downfall, he loves the man he was. Deep down no matter how much he changes, he’s still the same Jordan Belfort, a man who is addicted to satisfying his base pleasures no matter who he hurts.
For a film directed by someone as beloved and accomplished as Clint Eastwood, it’s hard to fathom that such a film would come off so amateur and tedious to sit through. Leonardo DiCaprio goes whole hog for Oscar territory delivering one of the worst performances of 2011 mimicking the drawl of J. Edgar Hoover but often times sounding like a man overplaying his role in a local community theater production in New Hampshire or something. “J. Edgar” has no style to it, nor does it possess an iota of compelling tidbits about Hoover’s life and career. Mostly it places gaudy cinematography above all else and aims to merely gloss over much of what J. Edgar had accomplished or fumbled in to.
When I was finished with “Shutter Island,” I understood what director Martin Scorsese was pushing for in the area of a dark and complex journey of a man in to the bowels of a mysterious island. I understood that deep down Scorsese had an ambitious and admirable hunger to bring to us a modern “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” but ultimately, his efforts fail to bring a work of art that’s grandiose but low key in its effort to make a commentary about the human soul and the psyche. While the character of Teddy Daniels ends up becoming a truly tragic and complex individual, the caveat with “Shutter Island” is that everything surrounding the character of Daniels ends up becoming rather lackluster and limp. Especially when the surprise twist is given away so easily in the original trailers.