ByNaeem Ahmed, writer at
You gotta leave something behind to go forward

First things first, I would like to personally give props to everyone on the cast who worked on the sound development. In the opening scene, the cameraman hovers over rushing currents in a small creek. The cadence of the hastening rapids fills the theater, making it seem like you were actually present as the hunters quietly trekked in-between trees to find their dinner. The entirety of the film takes place during the winter with blankets of snow across the landscape, so you’d hear the snow crunching and settling beneath the frontiersmen’s feet crunch and slide, and the pop of the Civil War era muskets made the exact sound as you’d have expected it to. The soundtrack also played a major role in setting the current mood as it does with most films. The composer of The Revenant did well to incorporate tiny distinctive actions (like ragged breathing, chopping wood, heartbeats) into the soundtrack which was at times a blaring siren, just classily composed with orchestrated instruments, which doesn’t sound appealing but it played a crucial role in helping you sympathize with the characters. The sounds are best embodied in a large room with surround sound {basically just go watch it in theaters} because at times you will shiver at the quietness of the tundra, or get goose bumps from hearing the gusting wind and maybe even be caught off guard by the faint sounds of the wilderness in the background.

Alejandro González Iñárritu did a fantastic job dramatizing the tale of Hugh Glass. The film was very artistic, featuring beautiful landscapes, which the director emphasized, and careful camera maneuvering to give it the full cinematic effect, much like what was seen in Birdman. The frame would often dip beneath and around the center of focus to give the viewers a sense of the current environment. Seen on a large screen, the bright colors of the white snow and dark green pine, along with the orange fire and the black blanket of the night sky are jaw-dropping. The film is truly beautiful because of its’ setting. Hugh Glass’ actual trek back to get his revenge actually was measured to be about 1,500 miles, and Iñárritu’s method of showing the change in setting (even though it was all covered in snow the settings did change) gave the viewer the sense that he did truly will himself through a thousand miles of punishing land.

The action and intensity was very raw and gritty, by featuring what seemed like real scars and wounds that came from whatever injury was sustained. By way of the endowed makeup artists on the cast, Leonardo DiCaprio looked like he was actually mauled to death by a bear because of how the skin off his shoulders and fingers and clawed off leaving the bone exposed. The blood was not blown out of proportion, in fact it was rather proportional. There may have been only a few scenes of pure violence, but those scenes were very violent.

Though it may have been long, spanning about two and a half hours, each and every minute would add to the notion of just how long Hugh Glass was stranded and fighting for survival. The portion of the film where Glass spent crawling across the tundra seemed like it lasted for months, which in actuality it did, because Glass traveled nearly 100 miles on his belly just by dragging his injured legs behind him. The survival portion probably took up about an hour and ten minutes out of the whole movie, but there are moments within that time slot that the viewers would appreciate.

All in all, regardless of what the critics say, The Revenant was a theater experience to remember. I’ve never felt so submerged in a world and felt like a part of the film. The acting was phenomenal, on both DiCaprio and Hardy’s part, and the ending actually left me feeling resolved which I haven’t felt about a film for a long time. If you didn’t watch the trailers yet, don’t. The experience of the film will be much more appealing than it was to the ones who did see the trailer because they ultimately knew what was going to happen, however, I recommend this film to anyone who’s on the search for a true, maybe even inspiring, or even heartwarming experience.

"As long as you can still grab a breath you fight...keep breathing." - Hugh Glass


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