The Revenant – Film Review
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 (IMDB synopsis).
‘The Revenant’ directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu is nothing short of brilliant. Regarding visuals, the cinematography is excellent; it is used expertly in fight scenes to help create a chaotic atmosphere and also used to create a sense of isolation & hopelessness in the survival segments. They take full use of the beauty of the landscape to create visually stunning & breathtaking shots. The ambitious use of natural lighting in the film really pays off in providing an extra degree of immersion and connection between the film and the audience that other films wouldn’t even attempt.
The acting is fantastic as expected. The majority of the movie’s storytelling is shown visually as opposed to dialogue. The physical performances were incredible, particularly that of Leo DiCaprio. While the acting was great all round it is worth mentioning that Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and even Will Poulter give notable performances. You may have heard of the physical exhaustion & difficulties the actors where put through on set, I think this goes to show that Iñárritu only accepts the best from his actors and it shows. This is why I feel that the lengths gone to by the cast & crew to film this movie are particularly outstanding. While this may not be Leo’s Oscar winning role I still commend him for his great performance alongside the rest of the cast.
Speaking of extremes, there is nothing holding back the extremity of the brutality displayed in the film. I can honestly say that this may be one of the most disturbingly real films that I have ever experienced. The world speaks for itself in how the people use violence as a way of living and as a way of killing; this is survival to its core. From the battle scenes I never received a feeling of fun & excitement that I gained from say watching ‘The Avengers’ or ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, rather I was always fearful for the main character’s survival as you witness the story from his perspective almost every step of the way forcing the audience to suffer with him.
On the surface level, ‘The Revenant’ is a survival & revenge story and a damn good one at that. However as we peel of the layers through gaining insight into Leo’s character Hugh Glass, we learn that this movie has much more going on through ambiguous imagery. While I have only seen the film once I believe I have picked up indications of various themes surrounding spirituality, fate & god as well as brutality.
Now, I have been raving on how much I enjoyed the movie, it is not without fault as there were some annoyances. Firstly, I counted about 4 times in which the dialogue spoken did not match what the characters where mouthing which was really distracting particularly in a scene where it zooms directly on their face. It didn’t even feel like it was an intentional artistic choice or anything, it just appears like the actors stuffed up there lines and they kind of fixed it up in post, which did take me out of the movie. As well as one minor complaint that some of the character logical decisions & motivations were questionable at times. There were instances towards the end where I felt like the questionable logic was used in order to force the story in certain directions, which did feel somewhat annoying. But ultimately in my opinion these minor annoyances only have a very minor overall impact of the film as I always found myself being sucked in again to this immersive journey.
In conclusion, ‘The Revenant’ is fantastic film and Iñárritu has lived up to the hype of his follow up from the extraordinary ‘Birdman’. While I wouldn’t exactly compare the two as they couldn’t be any more different, this goes to show Iñárritu’s diverse range as a director. There is no other film that I have wanted to see again so quickly after walking out of the cinema this year and that is saying a lot considering the sheer amount of horror I witnessed throughout. This is a must watch in cinema, as I can firmly say that from the opening shot and throughout all the horrors, I stayed firmly transfixed & purely engaged to the screen. Until the idiots behind me starting talking out loud during the movie. Seriously.
9/10 – Fantastic