Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions
Last week (don't ask) I revisited that old favorite of my days as a 14-year-old girl, the sweeping wannabe historical epic "Legends of the Fall." Ok. Let's just be frank here. This shit is like prairie porn. Sweeping vistas and wild pastel sunsets and wind rushing down the bluffs and tombstones overlooking rolling rivers tumbling along the landscape. I mean, seriously. Between the prairie views and the cast (which we'll get to in a minute), I had to force myself to turn the damn thing off every twenty minutes or so to get a good breath in.
And that cast. Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Anthony Hopkins hitting it hardcore in the bear coat and bad 'stache. And, of course, Brad Pitt in one of his earlier major-league roles as Tristan Ludlow. It's 1994 and he's rocking the Kurt Cobain/California surfer dude locks, all golden tresses flying behind him in the wind as he trots in on his trusty steed with his earth-toned shirt undone to the waist, bare feet caked with mud and face covered with blood. Of course, in heavy-handed movie language, Wild Hair + Bare Feet = Crazy Dude, Watch Out.
As much as the film is clearly an attempt to make a grand epic of love and loss and death and tragedy, it is more readily a soap opera melodrama set in the Old West. And that, of course, along with Pitt the Wild, is why I loved it. James Horner's sweeping score crescendos along with the rise of the camera as it sails over the horizon looking west; in classic prairie style, there are few words, but lots of overwrought montages full of period costumes and gorgeous 20s cloche hats and horses and gardens and whew, too much to handle for this chica. In spite of the contrivedness of the tragedy, man oh man, is it a weeper.
I've decided that Pitt is in best form when he plays some variation of Id. He did it in Fight Club (as mentioned in the past - hello, Tyler Durden!) and here again he's all nature, all wild, unharnessed, crazy unsustainable unsettled madness. And oh boy, do I love it. The acting is pretty poor at points and sometimes you just think to yourself, "wow, please just keep your mouth shut, Brad"...but then he saddles up on that horse and rides broodingly off into the sunset, and you'll forgive him for any bland line readings.
I've been tempted lately, very tempted, by that vision of riding off into the sunset and getting on a boat and sailing to Africa and just disappearing for a good long while. In the midst of all the hubbub over the new iPhone and Google Street Views and all of it, I just want more than ever to be able to unplug. And isn't it easy to get all kinds of wistful over that long-lost prospect of just getting on a horse and disappearing for awhile into some silence and nature and simple earthy being outdoors alone under the sky. I do what I can to stay relatively unplugged (cell phone's rarely on, blah blah blah), but man, do I wish it was that easy to fly under the radar anymore. GPS systems be damned.