I always feel silly saying "I tweeted about this already!" because I am old and what the fuck does that even mean, but I did, I already tweeted about the fact that I watched both Douglas Sirk's 1953 western Taza, Son of Cochise (which stars Rock Hudson, yes that Rock Hudson, as an Apache warrior) and Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest ode to misery and the men that love misery called The Revenant, on the same day. And as I said in said tweet I hadn't planned on the double-feature but good god did the two movies have a lot to say across the decades to each other, and I bring up the tweet because honestly I really shouldn't have tweeted about it - I have more to say than a tweet lets me say.
So here, more. Basically my thesis is that there's no reason in all the world for us to take Iñárritu's self-serious film any more seriously than we take Sirk's candy-colored cowboys-n-injuns flick, no matter how badly Iñárritu would like to make us think he has anything profound to say. If you've followed my acidic opinions on Iñárritu over the years than you probably recall I hate hate hate his work with the sort of passion people send armadas across oceans for, so let me say here at the start that The Revenant is not all that terrible. Sure it's too long, it's turgid for expanses of its run-time, and it has a terrible ending. But it also literally shoots its big yap in the throat early on and then shuts the hell up for most of the rest of it, smartly lasering in on Emmanuel Lubezki typically gorgeously grandiose visuals, so there's only so much empty posturing Iñárritu can do without the flaccid dialogue he usually slaps us across the face with.
Ahhh beautiful quiet! Just the sound of rivers running through it and an occasional chorus of grunts - Tom Hardy doing one of his completely indecipherable but entertaining accents, for example - I could deal with it. Still, this movie is nothing but actors play-acting tough guys, spray-tanning themselves with war-paint and ooga-booga-ing it in the wilderness, much like the adolescent mindset of Sirk's film puts on display. Taza Son of Cochise is more progressive than you expect a movie starring Rock Hudson in red-face is going to be - you do not leave the movie with a good opinion of the White Eyes, as Caucasians are labelled - but it's still a goof, a movie made for ten year-old boys to whoop-whoop it up to, and The Revenant is no better.
The ten year-old boys of yesterday are just the middle-aged men of today, propping their comic books up as Significance - everybody's a superhero now! - wrapping their Oscar statues in gore- and semen-soaked ribbons. (Tie a red ribbon round the ol' oak tree, merry merry king of the bush is he.) This is Masculinity today - Leonardo DiCaprio, the most pampered of pussy-posse poseurs, smudging dirt across his under-eyes like mascara and rolling around in horse intestines. I am MRA, hear me roar. (Don't even get me started on how wimmins just good for dying, full stop.)