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