The Revenant (2015)9:47 AM
The Revenant is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman, Babel) and stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception, The Wolf of Wall Street), Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, Legend), Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Harry Potter) and Will Poulter (We're The Millers, The Maze Runner). "A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820's fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team". Inarritu created a huge awards hit last year with Birdman - The Revenant has had 12 nominations so is it a second big awards hit for the director or is it likely to be shut out?
The Revenant is a very interesting film - it may be 2 and a half hours long but it was so so immersive and enjoyable! I really felt immersed in the world that the film was set in. However, I must admit, I checked the time quite a few times wondering how long was left but there is no moment that I can point out that could have been cut out - looking back, it was all worthwhile and helped to make it a generally great movie.
I think Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a director that wants to make films that are different - I still haven't seen Birdman but I hear that it is like one long take which makes the film technically unique. The Revenant is similar in the fact that it uses natural lighting - I thought this was really nice to see as the film felt quite real and didn't feel as artificial. I also couldn't point out any inconsistencies in the lighting changes which I think is a real technical achievement. The Revenant definitely deserves its Oscar nomination for best cinematography as this is definitely the most unique cinematography I have seen all year. This natural shots helped the shots of the forest and locations look even more beautiful - I think you could pause The Revenant at any moment and it would make a great desktop background (except for the gruesome moments) - it was just a visually unique and stunning movie.
The Revenant is also incredibly well acted - Leonardo DiCaprio leads the film incredibly well and this has to be the performance I have ever seen him put the most into. I think DiCaprio deserves the Oscar for this film - he manages to make you feel so many emotions even though his lines are minimal - you feel his physical pain, you feel his emotional pain, you feel his anger, you feel his motivation - no other male actor has made me feel all of those things this year so I think he definitely deserves it. Tom Hardy was also very good. DiCaprio has taken the spotlight from this film but I think Hardy is also very deserving of similar praise - this is the best I have seen him and this shows how diverse he can be as an actor. He manages to make the unlikeable character he plays very unlikeable which I think says something good. The supporting acting was also very good - Will Poulter has his most serious performance to date and I think he is superb.
The story for The Revenant isn't very clear whilst watching and is pretty non-existent. That is the films biggest fault. Everything else in The Revenant works except for the story. I can look back on the film and tell you what it is about but when you are actually watching it, you have no idea. I think this is due to the lack of dialogue. I also never really understood the flashbacks about DiCaprio's wife - they may actually be the moments I would cut out. However, I think the poor narrative helped me to feel even more immersed in the world of the film - it was like I was just watching the lives of the characters unfold - anything could happen around any corner. How immersive the film was is down to the panning shots that are consistently used which gives you a real scope of the surroundings - The Revenant may not be very well written but it is very well shot and directed.
The Revenant is extremely brutal and tense to watch at times. Even though it has a long running time, it does have a lot of action. Now, the scene everyone is talking about - DiCaprio Vs The Bear. At first, I thought the scene was a little underwhelming after how highly everyone was speaking about it but then the scene kept going and the bear got even more vicious. I thought this was really tense to watch. The visuals to do with the bear were fantastic and it actually looked like DiCaprio was being attacked. Another memorable scene was to do with the horse - the moment it falls of the cliff is horrible and the camera really gives a good scope of the height and it made me feel a little uneasy. The moments where DiCaprio empties the horse so he can sleep in it is very disgusting and uncomfortable to watch but I think is quite effective. I think the amount of brutality is the film isn't unnecessary in this film as it adds to the story of the character and makes you want to route for them even more. This film definitely isn't for the faint-hearted.
Some other things I liked about the film is that the score was pretty good and I liked how there would be stings of similar music throughout which kind of let you know that action was about to occur. I also want to talk a little bit about the title - 'The Revenant'. SPOILERS -A 'Revenant' is someone who has returned from the dead - DiCaprio has so many near death moments in this film that I think the film could actually mean he is dying and it is his spirit that leads to Hardy's death - even though DiCaprio doesn't kill Hardy, other characters do - DiCaprio lets Hardy survive as he knows he will be killed anyway. If this is the case, I think this is quite intelligent as I like it when films have further readings.
The Revenant is a technical masterpiece - it is a huge advancement for film, I wonder what Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has up his sleeve next! The acting by both leads is fantastic and I think it is almost a sure bet that DiCaprio will win his Oscar. The scenes are tense (especially the final sequence) and the film definitely has many memorable moments that will stay with audiences for a long time. The Revenant is powerful, emotional but is very long and does lack a clear narrative which may put some viewers off. After seeing the film, I can confirm that the film is deserving of its Oscar nominations and I wouldn't complain if it was to win best picture. The Revenant is mesmerising and fantastic.
What did you think of THE REVENANT? Is this finally going to be when DiCaprio wins his Oscar? - COMMENT BELOW
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