Film Review – The Revenant (2015)

Revenant - Tom Hardy

Title – The Revenant (2015)

Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)

Cast – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

Plot – In the unforgiving surrounds of the early American frontier, experienced trapper Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) sets out on a path of vengeance against against John Fitzgerald (Hardy) after he left him for dead following an horrific bear attack as well as killing his beloved son.

“As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe… keep breathing”

Review by Eddie on 12/01/2016

After the Revenant breathes it’s last icy cold breaths of a long and unrelentingly fierce runtime, it is almost assured that you, as a witness to the events laid before you on the screen, so frequently beautifully yet so uncompromising, will be in need of a quick respite from partaking in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s intense and breathtaking tale of revenge and the will to survive.

Without question one of the harshest big screen blockbusters that has ever graced our screens, the Revenant more than likely came out the way it has thanks to Iñárritu’s huge success with last years much loved Birdman, and if Birdman’s reception did indeed secure the Revenant’s huge budget and also secure Iñárritu the chance to create his movie the way he so invisioned, then we as cinema lovers should be thanking our lucky stars.

Working on the largest scale yet seen in his career, Iñárritu alongside his willing cast and crew and in particular trusted D.O.P Emmanuel Lubezki (who has his third straight Oscar in the bag after this effort), creates an almost fever dream of a movie that fills it’s every frame with stark beauty or jaw dropping feats of filmmaking skill that burst out of the blocks with a white knuckle opening stanza and are no better showcased than in a scarily in your face bear attack. Highlighting these moments in the film however are quite arbitrary as the Revenant is filled with moments that will last long in the memory and feature a Leonardo DiCaprio performance that will likely see the great modern day actor finally secure that long overdue Best Actor Oscar.

Giving all new meaning to a bad day at the office, poor old frontiersman Hugh Glass is having an incredibly unfortunate run of bad luck that sees him not only become a grizzly’s plaything but a near dead man that just seems to keep on copping it from nature and from mankind. It’s not a performance that requires DiCaprio to chew on dialogue as his role here is literally 5 – 10 minutes of talking but it’s a role that sees the renowned actor dive head first into a physically demanding and full bodied turn.

From his central battle with a grizzly, cozy nights with his horse friend and yummy buffalo dinners just to name a few, DiCaprio becomes Hugh Glass and while it’s arguable that this is in fact his “best” ever performance, in a field that pales in comparison, DiCaprio seems the front runner at the soon to be held Oscars. While DiCaprio is the clear standout, he is ably supported by another rough and mumbling Tom Hardy turn as the films villain Fitzgerald and the increasingly impressive Domhnall Gleeson as good hearted army man Captain Andrew Henry.

Whilst it would be easy to go on at length concerning the Revenant’s many highlights and successes the film does fall ever so short in a couple of matters that stop it from becoming a genuine fully fledged immaculate motion picture.

There’s a sufficient lack at times of emotional engagement to the characters and events in the film and the picture as a whole could’ve done with a sharper edit as there are times when scenes play out too long or events become blurred in a myriad procession of bad luck after bad luck, but overall these are slight and insignificant criticisms when held up to the films wins, and Iñárritu and his crew should be highly commended for crafting a film that utilities nature and realism like many films could only but dream of.

A film that deserves to be seen on the largest screen available to your viewing needs, the Revenant is a western like none other and a big budgeted film that walks entirely to its own beat. Most often jaw-droppingly filmed, violently intense, impeccably staged and featuring an award worthy turn from DiCaprio, the Revenant is must watch material that even though we may only be a few weeks into 2016, we already have a front runner for film of the year.

4 1/2 prolonged bear maulings out of 5

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29 responses to “Film Review – The Revenant (2015)

  1. This film is way too classy to be a mainstream, wide-release. DeCaprio’s name and Alejandro’s pedigree got the masses in the door, but I must say I enjoyed hearing people squirm and cringe next to me whenever the violence got going. Hey, your PG-13 Iron Man 4 is playing down the hall!

    In all seriousness though, I feel sorry for Roger Deakins given how he’ll be nominated for and lose his 13th Oscar (or however many it is, now). Emmanuel Lubezki has done beautiful work here.

    I do find it ironic that most folks are bleeding for DeCaprio to win an Academy Award for acting when more deserving stars will likely go their entire careers empty-handed, e.g. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. But that’s just me.

  2. Look, I can appreciate ‘The Revenant’ on its technical merits but the film, as a whole, was just way too long. Had Alejandro cut the flick down a tad, we could have had a slicker, better paced feature.

  3. It was well made gripping movie but a little self indulgent and cynical in tone. I could have used a moment of humanity to breath.

  4. You picked out the same flaws that I saw in the film. It needs more character and humanity to make us care about the character. Glass is under written in the materials before the bear attack, and then mostly grimly reactive the rest of the movie. It is a little indulgent and ponderous at times. The action sequences are excellent, especially the opening attack.

  5. I’m not sure I share your confidence of an Oscar for Leo. He certainly deserves it, but it’s a tough year for that category and Eddie Redmayne may be tough to beat

  6. Good review. Was really blown away by The Revenant. I had big expectations from the outset but it even surpassed them. So much emotion and rawness in DiCaprio’s performance, superbly captured by Lubezki. An Oscar has to be awarded somewhere!

  7. “There’s a sufficient lack at times of emotional engagement to the characters and events in the film ”
    Absolutely! And in all honesty, Glass wanting vengeance for his son seemed… weird to me. It almost felt like the son was added JUST to be murdered. The memories of his wife’s murder just muddied the emotional waters and confused the theme, which was always about Glass vs. Fitzgerald.
    And when the helpful Pawnee man was killed it took me right out of the film. I thought that was absurdly overwrought as well as in bad taste.
    Still, it was a BEAUTIFUL movie with an amazing cast. You’re right, Gleeson is just getting better and better.

  8. Awesomely shot. Movie looked spectacular.

    But it failed as a movie.

    I dont think im ever interested in watching it again.

    No character or emotional connection with any of the characters – they could have all died and i wouldn’t have blinked.

    Movie was also way too long.

    I hope Dicaprio doesn’t win for this – he’s better than a technical well shot movie and i feel anyone could have done this.

    He’s not acting cold and struggling to survive – he literally was. That’s not what i call acting..

    • Good to have you back man, glad you agree about its pedigree as a technical achievement.

      I suggest it’s absolutely not Leo’s best turn but he will win in a weak year and while it is to long and you don’t exactly care to much about each characters fate I really enjoyed the journey and was a real trip on the big screen.
      E

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