Adrian Graham

Man in a snowstorm

Seraphim Falls vs The Revenant

Like Seraphim Falls, The Revenant is a battle between two men that takes place within a godless wilderness, echoing the revenge plot of The Outlaw Josey Wales. The hero of these stories seeks justice. At one point in The Revenant Glass even resorts to using the inside of a gutted horse as a makeshift shelter like Gideon in Seraphim Falls. Unlike Seraphim Falls, which merely aims to be a great story and cinematic entertainment (along the lines of a Hollywood action movie or a Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western), The Revenant alludes to be presenting the audience with something more true to real life (‘inspired by true events’).

The insomnia story

The protagonist can’t sleep. He or she can’t focus and their head is full of chaotic memories and emotions. When they’re finally able to doze off, they are jolted awake by a disturbing nightmare. It’s the same nightmare the protagonist always has: a flashback from the past. Something terrible happened, which they have never come to terms with. The protagonist has repressed his or her memories of the experience, repressed his or her guilty feelings, and repressed his or her anger. Now he or she must face reality. Although the protagonist can never change the past, he or she will never rest until the dilemma is resolved. This is the insomnia story, and it is, literally the story of the film Insomnia.

The protagonist can achieve this this by fighting for the truth, admitting their failings, or by carrying out an act of redemption. Only after one of these resolutions will they be able to sleep. Insomnia can signify to the audience that the protagonist is experiencing a psychological dilemma or horror. In Vanilla Sky the central character loses his identity, which is visually expressed through his need to wear a mask. He is unable to sleep because he has lost touch with who he is. In Invasion of the Body Snatchers characters fear sleep because the alien entity clones people in their sleep. And in Nightmare on Elm Streetcharacters are afraid of sleep because Freddy Kruger will take over their dreams and torment them to death. In The Haunting ‘Nell’s’ sleeplessness and anxiety becomes amplified within the house, driving her insane. In Cashback the protagonist’s insomnia is the catalyst for him taking a nightshift at a supermarket and meeting new people. The emaciated protagonist in The Machinist suffers from insomnia, delusion and paranoia. Once he realises that he is the problem, his only path is an act of redemption.

Social media

I used to consider myself an ‘early adopter’ with technology, especially with things like social media. That was when social media seemed to be the solution to a puzzle that would undoubtedly unlock value and potential in my life. But, a few years ago I went to work deleting my social media content and closing accounts. And, I’ve never looked back.

The two main benefits of shrugging off social media are, one, the additional time I’ve gained to do whatever I want, and, two, the freedom from having to worry about it. Social media is a time intensive hog, and as a form of addiction, a completely unnecessary anxiety.

I do accept that social media is useful for some people, those who wish to promote their business, or for work purposes. And yes, that’s probably the best place for social media, because social media is work.

Instead of populating your social media accounts with content you could be: talking to a real person, writing poetry, editing your private journal, watching a film or reading a book. You could even spend this extra time looking out of the window, or taking the dog for a walk – any of these would be far more productive than creating pseudo-‘authentic’ content.

Social media is incredibly fake, and that’s not to mention the cesspit of trolls and stupid comments, but –almost as bad – it’s chock full of dull nonsense that no one should ever have to spend time looking at. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that people need this crap. It’s far more rewarding and – you could even argue – ‘spiritually’ productive, to do almost anything else.

It’s remarkably easy to turn social media off – you just have to get over the fear that your world probably won’t end when you give it the miss. I thought leaving social media would give me a real jolt, it might create a vacuum. The truth is far more prosaic – life goes on. Everything continues exactly as it did before, except that you’re not pouring huge amounts of time into a bottomless attention hole.

Even if you can’t face deleting your social media content and accounts, you can just walk away from social media for a time. The earth won’t stop turning. A few days later you probably won’t even miss it. There’s a lot to be gained from just going from social media production to only social media consumption. It might be a useful first step towards realising that you can go the whole hog. The anxiety of constantly checking your phone for Facebook updates or tweets is a modern affliction that most people would find unacceptable in any other part of their life. Social media addiction is a modern illness fuelled by the constant fear of missing out (FOMO). If you switch it off, even for a moment, something amazing might happen… and you’ll miss it. Nothing is going to happen. Turn social media off, and do something more meaningful. You won’t look back.

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