REVIEW: THE REVENANT

Leonardo DiCaprio sets out for revenge in a new film by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Based on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel, The Revenant tells the true story of fur-trapper, Hugh Glass, played by the remarkable Leonardo DiCaprio. Left for dead by his group of men, Glass is left to take matters into his own hands, as he sets off on a quest for revenge.

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First off, this film is beautifully shot. There are times when director Alejandro G. Iñárritu shows you these wide shots of nature, and it’s simply astounding. Because the whole movie takes place in the woods, with the bleakest weather conditions, and switching from day to night, the cinematography was simply amazing. The way they were able to film these campfire scenes, where the fire illuminated the characters faces in the perfect way was breathtaking.

But what would this film be without DiCaprio’s performance as Glass? His magnificent portrayal of the frontiersman, as he sets off for his quest for revenge, could not have been played by a better actor. As The Revenant plays out, the film displays this feeling as though the audience is walking with Glass, as he suffers under these cruel blizzard-like conditions. Also, and once again, Tom Hardy is exceptional this year, as he plays villain John Fitzgerald. Hardy’s portrayal of Fitzgerald is pure evil. As more of Fitzgerald’s past is revealed to the audience, the character begins to tug at our sympathy bone. However, without a doubt, Fitzgerald remains evil. And thanks to Hardy’s performance, he blends both good and bad so well.

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Without giving too much away, I must warn you about one of the most visually violent scenes I have seen in a film. As Glass sets off into the woods, he is greeted by a mama grizzly. The grizzly rips into Glass like a grater into a block of cheese. Her claws sink into Glass’ flesh, as you can hear the breaking of bones, as her weight presses into Glass’ back. What makes this scene so great, is the fact that I still do not know how they were able to pull off such a vivid scene. It’s a great scene, but also a tough one to watch.

There were some missteps that this film has. For instance, the film becomes very “art” driven. Because of that, the film almost seems too pretentious for its own good. This Terrence Malick like style of directing sends the film into long sequences of scenes without dialogue, or scenes where little English is spoken. This can get a little boring at times, so once the film comes back with more plot substance, there is some sort of relief.

The Revenant is not for the faint of heart. And by that I mean, not for the people who view films as just pure entertainment. As I watched this film amongst a theatre of people, the men next to me got bored and began looking into the bright light of their phone. It’s understandable if you don’t know the type of movie you’re getting into. But none the less, Iñárritu gives us a beautiful film both aesthetically and story wise. If you can brave a 2 ½ hour film, I suggest giving The Revenant a watch.

The Revenant

Directed by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson

Rating: A

 

 

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