Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Revenant

In an expedition of the unexplored American wilderness, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a bid to survive, Glass goes to hell and back to avenge his betrayal from a member of his own team John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).

The Revenant was responsible for the most absurd headline I read in 2015. The article was about the studio denying reports that Leonardo DiCaprio was raped by a bear in the film. Never before did I ever believe I'd actually have to type those words because its frankly absurd that anyone would ever believe that a) that actually happened and b) that's actually possible. I have heard that the whole filming process of The Revenant was a gruelling one and DiCaprio went through a lot but rape by a bear was not one of the many things he went through.

Leonardo DiCaprio really wants that Oscar, DiCaprio's Hugh Glass went through a lot from eating raw bison liver to sleeping inside an animal carcass, he suffered plenty for his mission of personal vengeance. It's an incredible physical performance from DiCaprio who battled freezing cold conditions to deliver a quite powerful physical performance but its one that doesn't really engage emotionally, his story of personal vengeance just doesn't quite strike a chord emotionally. How much can be pinned to DiCaprio's performance is up for debate but narratively Glass' personal mission is lacking emotionally. In other roles, Hardy mumbles his way through his role and Will Poulter is impressive in his.

The star of the show is the film's cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki whose work behind the camera in utterly breathtaking, as it has been since his big break almost a decade ago.The film's technical and visual brilliance is completely down to him, in Children of Men his five minute long take in the film's final act was stunning and his cinematography worked brilliantly with the faultless editing in Birdman to give the film the appearance that the film's longest scenes were done in a single take

Both Birdman and Children of Men display his remarkable talents, but its The Revenant where he produces his finest work. The film's breathless action sequences look like the they've been done in one single take from the opening ambush by the Native Americans to the bear assault on Hugh Glass - undoubtedly the film's most intense moment. These sequences are a stunning feat of filmmaking where the audience given a lasting impression that group of hunters and trappers are caught in bloody and chaotic situation with the fluid capturing of the action.

The Revenant is a brutal film, more for its harsh nature rather than the flashes of violence. Yet, however, I do wish the vengeance story was more involving than it was. It 's a film that it certainly overwhelming but not particularly moving as there's an emotional aspect missing from the film because Glass' tragic background is thinly written and doesn't leave a lasting emotional impact. Over the course of the 150 minite running time the film suffers greatly from this lack of emotion.

The film also suffers from one or two pacing issues over the course of its 2 and half hour running time as Hugh's constant suffering does because a bit tiresome after a while and the film's hokey spiritualism is superficial and unengaging. The film is an astonishing technical achievement, but one that is lacking narratively and emotionally. 



  1. Great review. That bear rape story was so ridiculous. I can't believe so many news outlets ran with it when all they had to do was check with someone who saw a screener. Was it really that hard?

    Leo deserves the Oscar in my opinion. You can see every painful move Glass makes across his face, it worked for me. I loved the film so much, but I do agree the pacing isn't the best.

    1. was just strange people actually thought that happened.

  2. Great review. Leo really went through hell - I could never eat raw liver, and he had to, and he is vegetarian - but it's the first time I've heard about that bear rape story. Absolutely ridiculous! Can't believe people actually believed that.

    Anyway, he really deserves the Oscar because he gave one of the best performances I've ever seen, and even though my heart wants Fassbender to win, I know DiCaprio deserves it more than anyone else.

    1. I haven't seen the Jobs performance, but I'm still not as impressed with Leo as others.