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And the Oscar for plot-holes goes to...

By Frances Burscough

Published 20/02/2016

Frances Burscough on the plot holes in Oscar-tipped film 'The Revenant'
Frances Burscough on the plot holes in Oscar-tipped film 'The Revenant'

Some people will do almost anything to get their hands on an Oscar nomination. In the case of Leonardo DiCaprio, this included climbing into and sleeping inside the rotting carcass of a dead horse.

Ok, I know this might sound like a monumental plot-spoiler, but my reckoning is if by now you still haven't been to see the movie The Revenant after all the hype and hyperbole, you're probably not that fussed anyway.

So to mark the occasion, midway 'twixt all its BAFTA awards last weekend and next week's foregone-conclusion Academy Awards, I decided to go against the tide of popular culture and point out a few improbable plot holes in the movie everyone is raving about. Call me a cynical spoil-sport if you will, but as enthralling and visually breathtaking as it genuinely is, I still spent a lot of time thinking "Yeah, right!" "As if...!" "Why the heck..?" and "How the hell ...?"

For example, early on in the filmhe's being chased by them-there pesky varmint in'juns and he jumps into a very fast-flowing river to escape. The fact that he's wearing all the trappings of a trapper - including a bear skin coat, leather breeches and clod-hopping boots - doesn't appear to affect his swimming one little bit. No, he doesn't get dragged under by the sheer weight of his skins or weighed down as his boots filled with water. Far from it. In fact, he manages to do the equivalent of a length of an Olympic-sized pool as adeptly as Mark Spitz in a pair of Lycra Speedos. Not only that, but when he climbs out he simply shakes himself a bit like a Labrador after a dip and suddenly he's perfectly dry again and all set for more derring-do without so much as a squelch from a sodden sock or waterlogged welly.

Later on we have the infamous fracas with a gigantic grizzly bear and two cubs. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the story is set in the middle of winter is it not? The snowy weather and flowing ice certainly suggests winter in South Dakota and at one stage slightly later on they are celebrating New Year. So what would a bear and her cubs be doing, casually strolling through a forest in Winter? The answer to that is, well, they wouldn't. They'd be tucked up all snuggly and warm in hibernation.

Then we come to the gruesome horse butchery scene, as mentioned above. This comes about when he's being chased -yet again, this time on horseback - and the horsey goes gallopy, gallopy, gallopy, down into a ditch. Splat. Now being the resourceful indestructible kinda fella that he is, his response is to slash open the horse, pull out all its innards and then strips off all his clothes and climb inside the body cavity, (like you do) effectively turning it into a kind of equine bivvy bag. But what did strike me as odd, was that when Leo emerged the next morning his clothes that had been left out all night in sub zero temperatures were all dry, soft and cosy-looking, as though they'd just come out of a tumble dryer, instead of frozen stiff and crisp with ice like they would have been in reality. Also he has survived days without anything to eat, and by now he's so hungry he could eat a horse. And yet, he walks away from this massive mound of fresh raw meat without taking so much as a packed lunch with him?

And then onto the bison scene. Once again, he's just climbed out of a river when he chances upon a huge dead bison, left behind from a recent stampede, and a kindly Indian who's prepared a nice fire, sitting beside it. With such a veritable smorgasbord of fresh meat readily available, and a barby fired up too, why does he only eat the liver and why does he have it raw? Could it be that here's yet another opportunity to see lots of blood and gore flowing down his chin this time? Oh, and while we're on the subject, how come his beard grows so long and straggly during the course of the movie and yet his moustache is always neatly trimmed? Oh, don't ask me. I'm just a cynical viewer who looked beyond the visual entertainment aspect and saw something about as true to life and believable as an episode of Wiley Coyote.

Belfast Telegraph

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