The Revenant is getting critical adoration and will likely win tons of awards—but Carole Cadwalladr writes in the Guardian that the Leonardo DiCaprio flick is really nothing more than "pain porn." Along with the much-publicized savagery of the bear attack scene, plus all the other violence involved in Leo's revenge quest, viewers are subjected to watching one female character get slaughtered and another get raped. "There’s a crucial difference between us and the people we are currently trying to blow to smithereens with million-pound missiles," Cadwalladr writes, referring to ISIS: "We choose to pay to watch women being pretend raped rather than watching women being actually raped for free."
The filmmakers are touting how grueling the shoot was and how realistic the film ended up, and critics are using words like "visceral" and "primal"—as compliments—to describe the movie. But there's no meaningful story, no overarching theme, not even a character the audience can care about—yet audiences and critics are still delighted by the "pointless" violence. And we wonder why ISIS has taken to burning people alive on film. "All of ISIS's video output is inspired by our own entertainments," Cadwalladr writes. "Islamic State hasn’t invented new narrative tropes, it’s simply lifted them straight from Hollywood. ... It has seen what we want, what we thrill to, and given it to us." Perhaps it's time we start wondering why "pointless, fetishistic violence—when it’s done by Hollywood—wins awards." Click for her full column.