Directed by: George Miller
When the Oscar nominees were announced I couldn’t believe Mad Max had actually made the list of Best Picture Nominees. Now, after watching the film … I still can’t believe Mad Max made the list of Best Picture Nominees.
Don’t get me wrong, this certainly isn’t one of the worst films I’ve seen. Far from it. It just isn’t at all what I expect from a Best Picture. I honestly had trouble even getting into the film. I remember enjoying the first Mad Max movie way back when, but since then I stopped caring, and I guess that impacted my excitement over this one as well.
As far as story goes, this really didn’t have a lot. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a plot – there definitely was. It’s just that the story and the world didn’t feel three-dimensional to me. I also found myself thinking that if I hadn’t seen any of the original Mad Max movies (especially the first one) I would have been very confused about all of Max’s flashbacks and hallucinations – even though they’re trying to appeal to a new generation of fans, none of his backstory is really explained in this film. Also, Max isn’t even the star. Honestly, I felt like most of the time he wasn’t even needed. Imperator Furiosa was definitely the main character and star of this film, and she was the only thing about this movie that I felt lived up to the hype.
Despite Furiosa’s awesomeness, I felt like Nux (Nicholas Hoult’s character) was the only really developed character in the film. He’s the only one who really grew and changed over the course of the film. The rest of the characters seemed to be the same people from beginning to end. Aside from Furiosa, Nux was probably the most interesting to me.
Overall, I just don’t feel like the movie lived up to all the hype it received this summer and I just don’t see why it deserves this nomination. Perhaps Miller deserves his nomination, but the film itself, not so much. I’m sure there are many more films much more deserving of the nomination than this one.
Memorable Moment: There was definitely some great cinematography going on, but I feel like most of the really great shots and memorable moments were all the ones we had already seen in the trailers.
1. The Revenant
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
I had a feeling before the Oscar nominations were even announced this film would be a Best Picture nominee. Even so, I wasn’t in a hurry to see it as it seemed much darker and more depressing than I usually like my movies. So I waited, though I was pretty sure I would need to watch it eventually, and I was right. I ended up enlisting my boyfriend to see it with me, as I really didn’t want to see this one alone in case it became too disturbing.
Birdman was possibly my least favorite of last year’s Oscar nominees, but I really appreciated what Iñárritu did with that film. The cinematography and the way the entire movie felt like one long continuous shot was fascinating. So what I was looking forward to most seeing in The Revenant was more of his style of film-making, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The performances were terrific. I remember thinking partway through the film this may finally be the year DiCaprio takes home that trophy, and he would certainly have earned it. This film was brutal, and it couldn’t have been easy to put on this performance. Hardy was great as well, though his category has some pretty stiff competition and I’m not confident in his chances of winning. However, as despicable as his character was, he did a good job with it.
The cinematography was the thing that really blew me away with this film and is what made me really enjoy it. Nearly every shot of the movie was wonderfully composed and there was so much gorgeous scenery. It really was a beautifully shot film. Early on in the film, as the hunting camp comes under attack, some of those camera movements and follows reminded me of what Iñárritu had done with Birdman.
I feel it’s probably unlikely that Iñárritu could win Best Picture and Director two years in a row, which is a shame because this film is so much better than Birdman, but I really do feel like it would deserve at least one of those honors. The Revenant is still not a movie I would watch more than once – it’s absolutely brutal and several scenes are difficult to watch – but I definitely enjoyed it much more than I had expected to.
Memorable Moment: There is one scene that will give you Empire Strikes Back flashbacks, only so much more disturbing.
1. The Revenant