Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Movie Review: Revenant

Alejandro Inarritu's Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is an amazing movie despite whatever criticisms you may have about Inarritu's creation.

This revenge western is based in part on real-life hunter/trapper Hugh Glass played by DiCaprio. The story is set in 1823 in the wild territories of the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Hugh Glass works for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company guiding beaver trappers into hostile territory.



The trappers are led by Captain Andrew Henry when they are brutally attacked by Arikara Indians. They lose several men and those that can flee for their lives with what few furs they are able to salvage. It's Glass's job to get them safely back to the fort. It's a treacherous trip and he is opposed by the main antagonist, John Fitzgerald. As they trek through the cold unforgiving wilderness, trying to escape the Indians and find their way back home, Hugh Glass is mauled by a bear. The mauling is a brilliant feat of visual effects that feels like the real bone-breaking ordeal. Glass is near death and unable to speak. They consider a mercy killing but Captain Henry finally decides to leave behind Hugh's half-Pawnee son, Hawk; a young man named Jim Bridger; and John Fitzgerald to see that Hugh gets a proper burial as soon as he dies.  Figuring he has already lost most of his furs, John Fitzgerald is eager to take on this responsibility for the monetary reward promised to him by Captain Henry. Fitzgerald kills Glass's son and leaves Glass for dead and half-buried in a shallow grave. Intent on surviving to revenge the betrayal by Fitzgerald and the death of his son, Hugh Glass manages to drag himself out of his grave and begin his journey homeward.

Revenant was shot in Canada and Argentina. Inarritu gives us some of the most stunningly beautiful scenery juxtaposed with the detailed brutality of man and nature. I find it hard to believe that any human could survive the situations faced by DiCaprio's character, but you get totally sucked into the beautiful imagery and extreme savagery. Survival feels all too real. The physicality is overwhelming. You are on the edge of your seat for all 156 minutes. And though DiCaprio speaks mostly in grunts and groans, his acting is mesmerizing. You can't believe he survived the filming of Revenant.

One final note; "revenant" means ghost or spirit in French. Hugh Glass's dead Pawnee wife haunts the story, showing up whenever he is in extreme danger and his survival in doubt. Also, for good measure, they have tossed in the subplot of the Indian chief in search of his kidnapped daughter. It all plays to the good of the Hugh Glass character, which is the primary and most fully developed character in Revanant. It's all about Leonardo. Go see it.

10 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your review. I've been wondering about the storyline. You've got me interested now. DiCaprio has become an excellent dramatic actor.

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    1. I think you'll like it even if it is violent--it's not gratuitous violence. Just bring a jacket. All the scenes are in snow and icy water. :-)

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  2. I loved the movie too. I went with a friend who is not into blood and gore, and I did not know it was going to be that brutal, visual viscera. I think there is less outright blood in The Walking dead, lol.

    Leo did a great job of portraying the character, and I have to agree, the setting was marvelous. I also wondered how the cast and crew survived the filming :)

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    1. I really want to know how they did that bear scene!

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    1. Let me know what you think. I hope you like it.

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  4. Great review! Love a movie based on a true story

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  5. Loved the movie. Your review was dead on. Now I'm reading about the real Hugh Glass. I was exhausted by the end...I had the hearing assistance ear phones on and you can hear every breath and sigh. I think it makes the movie watching experience even more intense.

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  6. A post script...I notice the music score won a Golden Globe award. I thought it was marvelous with that low moaning cello. We waited until all the credits rolled because of the music and also we wanted to see the locations.

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    1. Glad you liked the movie. I should have paid more attention to the music score.

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