Ever since I finished watching the first trailer for The Revenant in July, I knew I had to watch this film. I was way more excited to see The Revenant than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Sorry, Star Wars fans, but Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t need a blaster or lightsaber to kick ass. The first teaser trailer for this film is perhaps one of the greatest I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad to say that despite waiting months to see The Revenant, it was better than I expected. The Revenant is an engrossing, brutal, and sometimes even tranquil movie. It’s a testament to Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s talent that he was able to deliver a consistent and brutal survival film that never felt overly long(the running time is 156 minutes). Go see The Revenant in theater if you can, the film surrounds you like the wilderness surrounded the protagonist, albeit I promise you won’t be clawed by a bear.
The Revenant is by far the most beautiful film I have ever seen. Iñárritu and rising cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, did a profound job of giving us the perfect shot of the brutal frontier. Ah the frontier, rarely can something so dangerous seem so beautiful at the same time. Iñárritu’s film was very ambitious and challenging to capture, but I believe he accomplished that with flying colors. Each scene is intricately detailed, this is where Iñárritu’s patented 360 degree filming technique works wonders. The characters push through the unforgiving surroundings, as Iñárritu pans around them. The same can be said for the thrilling action sequences in the film, they are choreographed perfectly and the entire film is just a sexy dose of cinematic perfection just go freaking see it right now as I’ve already told you! Another aspect of the film that was stellar was the shocking sense of realism in the film. Arrows pierce the air and water rips through the land, all in beautiful 4k picture quality. There were reports that this film(obviously) was incredibly hard to film, due to the fact that Iñárritu and Lubezki scheduled filming when the lighting would be just right. I think that decision paid off because the movie was downright, mindbogglingly beautiful. The sights and sounds were intensely realistic, but there’s one important scene that I’d like to touch on. That bear scene is seriously one of the most gruesome, and intense movie scenes I have ever seen. DiCaprio truly did an exceptional job at portraying what it would be like to get ripped apart by a bear, and the bear seemed almost real. I have no idea how Iñárritu crafted such a realistic scene.
Everything about The Revenant just works, and the actors are no different. Leonardo DiCaprio is EXCEPTIONAL as Hugh Glass. Much of his performance was similar to Tom Hardy’s Max in Mad Max: Fury Road. DiCaprio frequently grunted, growled and seethed throughout the film and it goes to show that a good actor doesn’t need dialogue to realize their part of the story. Everything that Glass was going through felt real, and that is a compliment to DiCaprio’s acting skills. As for Tom Hardy(playing John Fitzgerald), he was amazing. I felt that Fitzgerald was the true victim in this film, clearly he was a broken man who had experienced untold suffering before he became what he was in The Revenant, and Hardy did an excellent job bringing that conflict to life. Domhnall Gleeson played Captain Andrew Harry, and I was surprised at his performance but there was a very odd occurrence with his performance that I noticed. For some reason, Gleeson was much, much better during the second half of the film than at the first. I felt initially that Gleeson was woefully miscast, he just didn’t fit the captain authority role very well, but then something changed in the second half. It’s almost as if while his character was forced to react accordingly to a terrible finding, Gleeson stepped up to the occasion and fit the part.
As I’ve said a soundtrack can honestly make or break a film, and one of the strengths of The Revenant is the soundtrack. The soundtrack was penned by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and feat. Bryce Dessner. I felt that the composers found a nice balance between the tranquility, and violence of nature.
The Revenant was nearly flawless but I had one issue with the film, and that was the relationship between Glass and his son (Hawk). I never felt that there was a real connection between the two, and that’s a pretty negative flaw because the film hinges on Glass’ determination to get revenge over his son’s death. In my opinion, there wasn’t a good enough attempt at making the relationship between Glass and his son seem genuine, it wasn’t completely disconnected, I just felt that both needed to be on screen together for a little longer so their relationship could truly be realized.
Overall, The Revenant was an astonishingly brilliant film, that has to be seen in theater to be fully enjoyed. My eyes thanked me once the credits rolled. I give The Revenant a 4/4, and it is definitely one of the best films of the year.
Be sure to follow our blog on WordPress, email, and twitter so you can get the latest 4StarMovies updates on everything movies!