The Revenant

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While it’s not a film I particularly love, I admire “The Revenant” for its beauty, cinematography, and visceral depiction of the wild. This is a film that is meant to be seen on the big screen.

“The Revenant” is the survival story of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fur trapper who was betrayed by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and left by his companions for dead after being mauled by a bear. It’s a mesmerizing experience, and Alejandro Iñárritu captures the grizzly beauty of the unforgiving mountains and the cold winter.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy both give great performances, but it’s hard to compare the two. DiCaprio doesn’t have many lines throughout the film, so all of the acting comes from physical action and from the eyes. To portray a man who experiences pain and hardship every step of the journey is certainly not easy, and it’s a haunting performance that makes viewers meditate on the limits of the human body and our drive to survive. Hardy’s character is a bit more nuanced as he has the most dialogue. His American accent is very convincing but sometimes sounds like he has five marbles in his mouth. Not that it really matters anyway, most of the dialogue in the film is not very interesting or cliché.

But you don’t go see “The Revenant” for its interesting dialogue (go see “The Hateful Eight” if you want dialogue); most of the appeal in the film comes from the visuals. However, the luscious pictures start to lose its effect on you as time drags. While the first third of the film will wow most viewers, others might start to feel the length during the middle, and the last third disappoints as it had strange pacing issues and the potential for being interesting.

The film also doesn’t establish any substantial emotional connection with the characters. By the end of the film, I couldn’t care less which man would emerge on top. But the film certainly accomplishes its quest to overwhelm our senses with scenes of grit and blood in a wild, beautiful, and dangerous place where humans don’t belong.

★ ★ ★ ★

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

2015, R, 156 min

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