The Revenant Movie Review

Driven by revenge, THE REVENANT follows one man’s fight to survive the wild while it brutally beats him to the edge of death every step of the way. Capturing the raw power of nature and the human spirit, THE REVENANT is chaotic, intensely exhausting and cinematically beautiful.

Inspired by true events and set in the 1820’s, Leonardo DiCaprio plays explorer Hugh Glass, a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition. Hired by the military, Glass is the survival expert to get them through the uncharted American wilderness avoiding both hostile soldiers and native americans. Plans go awry quickly when the group is attacked and then aggressively turn to worse, leading to one of the most incredible and brutal scenes I’ve seen on film.  The struggle to survive is relentless as poor Glass endures one pain after another with the love of his family as his driving force.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio once again proves that he is one of our greatest living actors by capturing every soul crushing defeat while sustaining a glimmer of hope and strength using nothing but depths of his eyes.  The limited amount of dialogue translates into a physical performance that exudes bravery and vulnerability through every scene. DiCaprio’s face should replace that motivational “hang in there” kitty poster for the amount of abuse his character endures. Tom Hardy delivers another standout performance using one of his staple unusual accents as the callous, self-preserving, John Fitzgerald. With minimal screen time, Will Poulter and Domnahall Gleeson, who is having a strong year in film with EX MACHINA, BROOKLYN, and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, turn in commanding supporting performances. But make no mistake, this is DiCaprio’s film and it will be a shame if he once again is denied the Academy Award that continually escapes him.

Tom Hardy in The Revenant

Massive credit belongs to risk-taking director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who once again brings life and energy into the directing chair.  His vision isn’t always clear in THE REVENANT, particularly with some oddly chosen hallucinations or flashbacks, but he more than makes up for it with a unique ambition and inventiveness that is rarely seen in film.  After last year’s Oscar winning film BIRDMAN, Inarritu delivers another visionary project with the help of long time collaborator, director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki. The cinematography is both jarring and breathtaking and should earn Lubezki the chance to go for the three in a row hat trick come Oscar time (GRAVITY and BIRDMAN being the first two). The use of natural light among the harshness of being outdoors through every type of weather condition, proves that the the film was probably a nightmare to shoot.  Love it or hate it, the authentic camera work alone is worth the price of admission.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Lazily reclined comfortably in a luxurious theater seat with a belly full of popcorn and soda, I somehow felt the frigid cold of the snowy air, the hunger pangs of not eating for days, and the excruciating pain of being dragged through the mud as my back is clawed open.  THE REVENANT is an impressive, visceral achievement in untamed ferocity; it is a fully immersive experience that had me physically exhausted to the very end.

OVERALL 4.5
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