By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
Oscar® winning filmmaker, Alejandro G. Iñárritu (21 Grams, Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) returns with his latest film, a biographical western based on the true events of Hugh Glass and how he survived after being left for dead, The Revenant. I don’t know much about what really happened, so I’m not capable of explaining how accurate the movie represents the events, but as an entertaining movie, it’s both beautiful and cruel at the same time.
What I mean by that is the cinematography is gorgeous and watching the shots of the mountains felt very massive. But obviously the movie is also very intense and harsh when it comes to its subject matter, getting mauled by a bear, slicing a horse’s stomach open and sheltering themselves inside of it (Yeah I almost made a Star Wars reference when watching that!), a guy being left for dead, and gruesome deaths, definitely darker than Birdman.
But what truly makes the film shine are the main stars of the film, Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, Gangs of New York, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Hugh Glass and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, The Drop, Mad Max: Fury Road) as John Fitzgerald, they bring on the drama and intensity of the situation and it shows how committed they are as actors when portraying the people from the event, not to mention they’re two of my favorite actors.
Set in 1823, explorer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear during an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. The expedition soon becomes a quest for survival and revenge as he endures grief as well as betrayal of his confidant, John Fitzgerald (Hardy) after he killed his son as well as leaving Glass for dead.
Guided by will and the love of his family, Glass must survive a brutal winter in a relentless pursuit for life and justice.
Overall, The Revenant is a gripping experience, it doesn’t rely heavily on action and bloody violence, though that is part of it, but the film focuses more on character, drama, and suspense. The characters for the most part are well developed, every time DiCaprio’s on screen, you just keep rooting for him until the film ends because you get attached to his character after his crew betrays him and it feels like you’re right there with him on his journey, and of course, Tom Hardy makes the movie, his threatening and intimidating appearance and just how far we can take the cruel things he’s doing before Leo shows up, another great villain performance for Hardy.
It’s a very different film for Alejandro to follow Birdman up with, because this movie is much harsher and serious than Birdman, which was much more of a comedic art-house film, but like Birdman and even 21 Grams, he puts a lot of effort in bringing The Revenant events to the screen. It’s a well-made dramatization of the true story as well as an intense and entertaining movie.
The Revenant really shows how far these filmmakers have gone, Leonardo DiCaprio went from the mentally handicapped kid from Gilbert Grape and Jack from Titanic to The Wolf of Wall Street and a man left for dead here, Tom Hardy from a half silly, half intimidating Batman villain to a ruthless hunter who kills.
If you want to see a well-made dramatization of the true events, you’ll probably enjoy The Revenant and especially if you’re fans of Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Hardy, just make sure you know what you’re getting into. It isn’t as uncomfortable as a movie like 12 Years A Slave, but there’s a lot of intense and graphic moments, and fortunately it doesn’t get in the way from its strong, gripping story.