Tuesday, 19 January 2016

EYE FROM THE RIGHT: "THE REVENANT"


 Contemporary Media seen from the Right



This film is by the Mexican Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who really should think about Anglicizing his impossible-to-pronounce name to something simpler, like Alexander Inwood, especially as he's now so well established North of the border. Despite this quibble, I thought his film was one of the best pieces of cinema I've seen in the last year.

I saw The Revenant by preview first and then on the big screen, which is the way it should be seen. I thought it had a very strong Nietzschean theme and was very beautiful in fact. Some critics have compared it to Apocalypse Now – but more a Heart-of-Darkness-on-land affair than a carry-on-up-the-river one – but certainly a valid comparison.

One of the things I liked was the movie's misanthropic view of humanity. It showed everyone being a c*nt, basically. Everyone was terrifying and cruel – both the White settlers and hunters for pelts, and the local indigenous Indians, who, when not killing white men, kill each other. But this darkness is tempered with a little Terrence-Malick-style grace, as well as rare touches of kindness and communication here and there. This balanced it all out for me, and made it a much more rounded work of contemporary cinema.

The film does have a few flaws. Leonardo DiCaprio's character – the tracker Hugh Glass, an actual Scotch-Irish trapper and frontiersman, complete with a Pawnee squaw and half-breed child – sustains some rather spectacular injuries early on in the film, which tax credibility.

There is the infamous ‘Bear Rape’ scene of internet legend and memes. This is not an actual rape, but just an attack involving a female bear, but it sort of looks like a rape, so, if you find that funny, keep thinking it. The problem, however, is that Glass is torn up so bad that I doubt medical science even today could have patched him together, never mind back then.

The "Wolf of Wall Street" gets mauled by the bear of the backwoods.
But this mauling centers on one of the film's main conceits – the Nietzschean dictum that "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And stronger Hugh Glass gets. Even though it seems impossible for him to survive, with the help of an Indian healer and a strict organic diet of raw fish, meat, and grass, he manages to pull through.

For the Alt Right community, especially folks like Jack Donovan, this film has plenty – and I mean plenty – of alpha male aggression. It is basically just about revenge between two tough aggressive men – grrrr!

I’ve read a few lily-livered Cultural Marxists critiques of this film. They complain that it’s "suffering porn" or that it’s too male-centred (Wow! How did that happen?) and so on. That is just horse shit. We on the Alt Right are made of tougher stuff, and will lap this up like sweet morning dew.

Tom Hardy plays a fine villain in Fitzgerald, the actual name of someone who crossed Glass, but here he also seems to be the "designated carrier of White evil," a common enough device in most big Hollywood films these days. Fitzgerald is a realist, who wants to get his pelts back to camp, make a pretty penny, and head South to join the klan in Texas, or some such thing. But, alas, a marauding bunch of pesky Injuns take the Cowboys and Indians stuff up a few levels with a particularly vicious attack on some harmless White settlers. This happens early on and totally sets the brutal mood that then persists throughout the movie. It’s cruel, super violent, and nihilistic, with both sides copping a serious hiding and no one really winning.

That’s sort of the theme of the piece, but in the end Glass has a victory of sorts. After he is injured, you see Fitzgerald offered a handsome reward to take care of him until he dies. Two young men stay behind to help – one the Indian half-breed son of Glass, the other a White lad Fitzgerald has taken under his wing – a surrogate son to Glass's real one.

Well, Fitzgerald being who he is, takes offence at the half-breed and sends him packing to Indian Valhalla, then leaves Glass to die in the wilderness. From these acts springs the cycle of revenge that is the engine of the movie.

With Eternal Return each
one of us is a pile of skulls.
There are also more than a few hints of another one of Nietzsche's famous dictums, namely that of the Eternal Return – the notion that this universe and our lives are played out again and again an infinite number of times. The title of the movie means "one that returns after death or a long absence." This Nietzschean theme is also symbolized by circle and spiral motifs throughout the film, especially by one on a water can. This is is something to keep an eye out for.

Of course, cinema itself is a perfect expression of Eternal Return: we can make any film we like, but, once it's made, it's that way forever and ever, and will be played the same way over and over again. Nietzsche felt that life was perhaps like this. He may have been correct, but if he was, he clearly will be again, and if he is, then Hugh Glass (and Leonardo DiCaprio) can expect the mama bear to keep on finding him.


The Revenant
Directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Various production companies


Richard Wolstencroft is a filmmaker, writer, events promoter, and founder and festival Director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. He has an interest in Right Wing, Conservative, and Fascist philosophy, politics, and history.

 

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