Skip to main content

Ravenous




1999
Directed By Antonia Birds
Starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle and David Arquette 



What’s the best way to measure a film’s success? I’ve never really cared how a movie does at the box office or what the critics think but when a film fails to connect on both levels it’s a safe bet that the movie just did not work and that it was in fact a failure. If you make that assumption about Antonia Birds 1999 film Ravenous you would be flat out wrong. While the film only grossed $2,062,045 on a $12,000,000 budget and currently has a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes this film by my personal measurement is a resounding success.  In March 1999 I saw Ravenous in a nearly empty theater. After the movie was over my friend looked at me and said “that was brilliant, where is everybody?” Apparently they went to see Analyze This and Forces of Nature that weekend.  

In the opening sequence of Ravenous we are introduced to Capt. John Boyd played by Guy Pearce. Boyd is a US soldier fighting in the Mexican-American war who is afraid of dying in battle. When his squadron is over taken he hides underneath the bodies of his fallen comrades to avoid detection. The blood of his fellow soldiers is quickly covering his face and filling his mouth while quietly cries in fear.  After struggling for a few moments Capt. Boyd is overtaken by rage and climbs out from the pile of soldiers. We see a man who is no longer afraid of dying. He is powerful and hell bent on killing every last one of the enemy forces single handedly. Capt. Boyd is declared a hero and treated to a steak dinner to celebrate. The way food is shot and the sound of the soldiers eating is enough to turn the stomach of the most carnivorous viewer. 

The film strikes a remarkably difficult balance between comedy, horror, thriller and manages to succeed on all fronts. Loads of films have attempted to strike this balance but few have been as fully realized as Ravenous. Most films that attempt this sacrifice the scares when going for laughs or attempt to heighten tension after a comedic moment and it all falls flat.  

Most descriptions of this movie give far too much away. While it is in no way The Sixth Sense, it doesn't hinge on a reveal in the final act. Ravenous is a slow burn and it reveals itself at a deliberate pace. If you haven’t seen this movie, avoid reading the back of the bluray case or the description on itunes. Just take my word for it and watch this delightful little tale. I guess this film would be considered a horror comedy but it’s in no way self- referential or playing it for the laughs. Robert Carlyle gives a manic performance that I cannot get enough of. With so many movies that I will never see, I rarely revisit films on a regular basis and I have seen Ravenous twice this year.  



Shout Factory has recently released Ravenous on BluRay and has given this forgotten gem the respect it deserves. The print of the film looks beautiful and the soundtrack sounds flawless. The disc also has 3 audio commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews and production stills.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE True Bromance Film Podcast - John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

Episode 216 - John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum No one takes out the trash like Mr. Wick. Our trusty and reliable hosts enlist the assistance of Keanu Reeves' alter ego, John Wick, to help us usher in a new era of dependability. Dave and Jairo discuss John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum and revel in the glory of their hideous Game of Thrones predictions from the previous episode. Check out the latest episode on followingfilms.com. MOVIES DISCUSSED THIS WEEK: Book Smart, Brightburn, Aladdin, Shazam!, Bumblebee, If Beale Street Could Talk, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum

THE True Bromance Film Podcast - Inglourious Basterds

Episode 219 - Inglourious Basterds This week we are celebrating 10 years of Brad Pitt and his band of merry men wreaking havoc in Nazi Germany in Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece, Inglourious Basterds.

WHAT THE FEST!? Interview with Larry Fessenden on DEPRAVED

On this episode of the podcast, I had the chance to chat with genre legend Larry Fessenden. He was kind enough to carve out 20 minutes of his day to chat with me about his latest film  DEPRAVED , the opening night selection for this year's WHAT THE FEST!?  Shot on the 200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN,  writer-director Larry Fessenden’s brings his unique vision of the literary classic in DEPRAVED , set in modern Brooklyn. This meditative reimagining of the novel explores the crisis of masculinity and ideas about loneliness, memory and the subtle psychological shocks that shape us as individuals. To hear my conversation with Larry click play on the embedded player below: