The Revenant Movie Review
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Duane Howard, Melaw Nakehk'o, Arthur Redcloud, Lukas Haas, Brendan Fletcher, Tom Guiry, Grace Dove
Oscar Wins: Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Cinematography, Best Director
Other Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hardy), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Picture
I’d like to just start this review by quoting Rolling Stone magazine, because I think they really said it best: “Note to movie pussies: The Revenant is not for you.”
After fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is injured and left for dead, he begins the harrowing and brutal journey to hunt down the man who betrayed him (oh and killed his son right in front of him). Set in the wild west in 1893, The Revenant is literally 156 minutes of torture for both the cast and the audience.
In what is arguably the most gruesome scene in the movie, Glass is violently attacked by a bear. Hyperbole aside, this was truly one of the most amazing and terrifying things I’ve seen on screen in a long time. I heard his bones break. His blood COVERED the ground below him. The bear looked so real that I had to convince myself a couple times that it wasn’t. This scene alone could have been what solidified Leo’s Oscar win, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.
What makes The Revenant so truly astounding is that it was shot using natural light and scenery. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki didn’t create a world, he brought us into our own. The cold, the snow, the wind – it was all real. The scenery of this movie almost becomes a character itself, offering a beautiful and albeit peaceful foil to the unmitigated agony that seems to plague Glass. The heavy use of panoramic shots – especially during battle scenes – literally put us in the center of the action. You don’t just watch The Revenant, you experience it.
That brings us to my bae, Leo. Now, there’s no denying that Leo is a great actor. He’s been nominated for Oscars for his roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (which he should have won), The Aviator (which he also should have won), Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street. In what would come to be his first Oscar-winning performance, Leo is challenged to express raw fear, hatred and pain all with facial expressions, which he does flawlessly. With maybe 10 words of dialogue in this movie, Leo puts on a performance that will certainly become a pinnacle of his career.
A revenant is defined as a person who has returned from the dead or a long adventure, and I can’t think of a better way to describe Glass’s journey. His body was broken time and time again, but his spirit remained unwavering.