The Revenant

The Revenant (15)

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Written by: Mark L. Smith & Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter.

Running Time: 156 Minutes.

Oscar winning filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu follows up the Best Picture winning, and highly overrated, Birdman with this old school tale of revenge. The Revenant follows Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio) on his quest for revenge after a member of his hunting team (Tom Hardy) murders his son and leaves him for dead. Partly inspired by a novel by Michael Punke and apparently inspired by true events, take this information with a pinch of salt as logic is sometimes forgotten in this film.

The Revenant would be a great movie if you were just hoping for a film with a gratuitous amount of shots of forestry, instead what we’ve ended up with is an okay film with a gratuitous amount of shots of forestry. Terrence Malick would be proud of the high number of completely unnecessary shots of the woods that are present. On more than one occasion the camera cuts away from the action to simply focus on just trees. I guess the director was attempting to be arty?

Leonardo Dicaprio has long been overdue an Academy Award (or at least according to teenagers on the internet), but everyone can breathe a sigh of relief as this might finally be his year to take home that gold statuette. Dicaprio’s performance is easily the most appealing aspect of this film, with a great deal of his performance being silent and of a more physically demanding nature. It’s unlike any of his previous performances and is a showcase of his versatility. Dicaprio’s character gains the sympathy of viewers as most of the film details his struggle in his quest for revenge. The team member that has betrayed him, John Fitzgerald is played in a strangely comic (is this intentional?) manner by Tom Hardy. For the entirety of the film I found myself struggling to place the accent that Hardy was attempting to depict. I’ve finally settled on it being a mix of Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs and John Travolta from Hairspray. Most of what he says is unintelligible and the fact that he was Oscar nominated for this particular role out of all the other decent performances he has turned in over the past 12 months is baffling. Up and coming Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson also features as the leader of the hunting team, though as Star Wars also proved, Gleeson doesn’t fare well playing roles of authority.

One can’t deny the beauty of the cinematography in The Revenant. The cinematographer made superb use of natural lighting throughout. Many of the action set pieces are large in scale and Iñárritu constantly reminds the viewer of this by showing the size of the settings used for these particular set pieces, barely allowing for one to follow the action. The sequence with Dicaprio fighting off a bear makes for one of the most thrilling scenes in the entire film, though the character faces many intense ordeals after this event bringing the viewer to wonder how much suffering can one man endure?

Verdict: It makes about as many right steps as it does wrong in ways of storytelling and casting, but Leonardo Dicaprio’s show stopping performance just about makes this film worthy of your attention.


Alex O’Meara

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