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Ravenous (Widescreen)

Guy Pearce , Robert Carlyle , Antonia Bird    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
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When was the last time you saw a new movie set during the 1840s? The era is the first oddball thing about Ravenous, though by no means the last. This provocatively weird movie is essentially a vampire film crossed with the Donner party, that unfortunate band of hungry pioneers who got stuck in the wilderness with only themselves to eat. The setting here is Fort Spencer, a dismal collection of shacks huddled in the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Mid-winter, a nearly dead Scotsman (Robert Carlyle, from The Full Monty) staggers into camp with a story of desperate cannibalism. The skeleton crew (so to speak) manning the fort sets out to investigate, when... ah, but the twists and turns of this dark yarn should remain shocking. Be assured, however, that the cannibalism has just begun; this movie has cannibalism like Titanic had an iceberg. Director Antonia Bird (Mad Love, Priest) blends some humor into this scenario, especially in the final reels, but otherwise this is a fairly serious gore picture; a confused Twentieth Century Fox tried to market it as a black comedy, and the movie flopped anyway. It deserves a better fate--at the very least, it's not quite like anything else out there. The music, a brilliant collaboration between Michael Nyman (The Piano) and Blur's Damon Albarn, is an offbeat blend of period twang and modern drone. Carlyle and Guy Pearce (of L.A. Confidential) are fascinating in the lead roles--their sunken faces would look at home in Civil War photographs--and the eccentric supporting cast, including Jeremy Davies and David Arquette, adds flavor to the dish. --Robert Horton

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Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies of the 1990s April 6 2003
By ewomack
This is going to sound strange, but "Ravenous" is a very intelligent movie about cannibals, vampirism (of an unusual sort) and the history of the west. At it's heart is a metaphor about power, exploitation, and ravenous greed. It is much more than simply a thriller, horror, slasher picture.
It is set during the time of westward expansion in the youthful United States, which is significant for discovering what the movie is all about. This movie wouldn't make sense in 20th century Manhattan, or in 1930s Chicago. It is set during a time when european settlers still had a long way to go towards 'conquering' most of North America.
Without giving too much away of the bizarre and twisted plot, the movie explores not only cannibalism, but cannibalism as a means of regaining life, energy, or power. You eat another, you take the life energy of that person. This notion of cannabalism (which is more along the lines of mythology than of a slasher movie) allows the movie to be completely unpredictable, disturbing and poignant all at once. At the end of the movie, one realizes that it would've been almost impossible to have guessed what was going to happen at each plot turn. If you enjoy bizarre, almost surreal surprises, this movie is packed with them.
The crucial moment in the film is towards the end when Robert Carlyle's character is rhapsodizing about "manifest destiny." Here it is revealed that what's behind the ravenous hunger depicted in the film is a statement about how the west was won, and perhaps still being won. There's a lot in this film to chew on (it's impossible to avoid stupid puns when writing about movies in which people are eaten, sorry), and "Ravenous" does not belong in the same category as B-slashers or gore or shock flicks.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This movie was a surprising........'treat'. Jan. 8 2004
By Elite14
This is a very difficult movie to review. How do I explain a movie about cannibalism? Which is exactly what this movie centers on. When this film came out, 20th Century Fox advertised this like it was a dark comedy. While it does have it's share or quirky moments, it's not a comedy. This is a gore picture, plain and simple. Oh and did I mention the cannabalism?
Guy Pierce plays a misunderstood 'war-hero'. During the Spanish-American war (this film is set in 1840), while on the battlefield, he took over the Spanish command post of the area he was fighting in. What he didn't mention to everyone, was that he did it out of cowardice. During the battle, he played dead on the battlefield and was buried with his dead companions in a large trailer full of bodies. He then spent the next few days drinking his commanding officers blood running down from his half-blown off head. After drinking this blood, he then escapes and takes over the command post.
After being awarded a medal for his actions, he is sent to Fort Spencer. You see, his general (John Spencer) knows what really happened and wants him nowhere near his troops. So, he is sent to the middle of nowhere in the snowy mountains of Nevada (or so they say in the film). Fort Spencer is being watched over by 7 people. Each has their own characteristics and are actually quite interesting.
One night they are paid a visit by a wandering stranger (Robert Carlyle) who is on the verge of death. He then tells them all a story about cannabalism. It seems that the party he was with, got caught in the storm and seeked shelter in a cave. One of the males then preceeded to eat everyone. He mentions there might be survivors. Some of the people of Fort Spencer then plan to travel to the cave to look for these survivors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars YOU...It's What's For Dinner... Dec 18 2003
If you know anything about the storied history of this film, you find yourself amazed and pleased, even after the nine-thousandth viewing, that it turned out as well as it did.
What with Antonia Bird serving as the replacement for RAVENOUS' first director, Milcho Manchevski, and the eleventh-hour addition of the marvelous Robert Carlyle, it's no surprise that the plot and tone are schizoid as they are. And just the fact that the score was co-composed by avant-garde specialist Michael Nyman and former BLUR frontman Damon Albarn, speaks volumes about what the wary (or unwary) cinematic *CONSUMER* should expect.
Which is a ride not for the faint-of-heart or the squeamish. Captain John Boyd (Pearce) has just received an award for bravery, for a heroic act of valor performed during a battle in the Spanish-American War. Only he, his superior officer, Gen. Slauson (WEST WING'S John Spencer) and the audience know that he's a lily-livered coward at heart. He was only able to capture an enemy outpost after playing dead under a stack of the bodies of his butchered comrades.
Disgusted with him, but well aware that political correctness won't allow him to have a war hero tried and executed for cowardice under fire, Slauson does the next best thing...he has Boyd "reassigned" to what could be seen as the American answer to the Gulag...Fort Spencer, out in the middle of hell-and-gone, somewhere in California, by way of the same route that the Donner party was unlucky enough to take, (making you wonder if maybe they ran into somebody in this movie!)
Anyway, our outcast war hero finds the fort manned by a colorful cast of misfits: Col.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The presentation is ULTRA CLEAN and the definition is very good, Good...
Very weird movie. I don't know how they managed to get an R rating (many Friday the 13th were cut for less). Read more
Published 1 month ago by RM300
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful Ravenous blu ray from Shoot Factory...
As an ultimate fan of Ravenous, I was so excited by the announcement of this blu ray edition from Shoot Factory, but the deal is not well worth the wait... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Martin Brody
1.0 out of 5 stars Was the wait worth it?
Waited for this a long time, picture quality was very poor for a blu ray remaster. Disappointing release to say the least
Published 2 months ago by Taylor Ryan Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars surprising
i enjoyed the product a lot... pretty much like it was advised and even more... i can say im satisfied
Published 8 months ago by james 007
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie
One of my favourite movies. 5 stars all the way. If you're into cannibalism then this movie is for you!
Published 15 months ago by Geoffrey Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars refer to "painfully boring" review
The reviewer of this film, who calls it "painfully boring" simply typifies many american viewers. Read more
Published on May 21 2004 by J. Colburn
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For Every, uh, Taste
There is some polarized debate as to both the quality and the genre of this movie. The movie is good and enjoyable but its not THAT good. Read more
Published on May 16 2004 by J
2.0 out of 5 stars Stupid Scary
Labeled by some reviewers as a dark comedy and a cannibal gore-fest... I choose neither. Sure, there was plenty of fake blood going on, but nothing over the top as far as the... Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by R. Gorham
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovin' it...
I really loved this movie because it lays out a very serious subject and a very serious time. (The Civi War or something... Read more
Published on May 6 2004 by BMW
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully Boring
You people must be nuts! 4 stars for this steaming pile?
This is a surprisingly boring and empty film. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by SandmanVI
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