Oh, the movie I was waiting for the entire year, just to see if Leo would really finally win an Oscar; and sure enough there was nothing less to be expected from Director Alejandro González Iñárritu (most known for his work in Birdman), cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (two time Oscar winner for Birdman and Gravity...possibly his third in Revenant?) and stellar cast Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. What do I mean by this? Watch Birdman, you'll understand completely what I mean by this. OR in the words of Amy Poehler:
"Tina Fey: Who would you rather, Alejandro Inarritu or Richard Linklater?
Poeler: Hmm, I would have to say... Innaritu. 1 take, 2 hours, non stop."
If you didn't get that...then, that's good for you, you innocent child.
I think the mark of a crafted director is one who is able to not only brilliantly project a story onto the big screen, but one who is able to draw you into the story emotionally, mentally, spiritually, until you almost feel lost, unable to keep track of time - and I think that's what Iñárritu did (sorry, DOES). He didn't just convey an incomprehensible scenario...he transported me into a near three hour long adventure (although slightly draggy at some parts) with Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). I really don't know how he did it, whether it was the tight upclose shots that forced us in, or the wide shots that helped us envision the surrounding...but he did it. Oh boy, he did it. I can't even begin to describe to you how hauntingly disgusting it was to watch a bear maul Leo, yet so hypotisingly flawless the visual aesthetics were (how was that a fake bear?). You just have to watch it for yourself.
So, I think definitely, the visuals that Iñárritu was able to translate to viewers would only be subpar if not for Leo's tenacious heights of acting in leading us into the emotional AND physical distress of Hugh Glass. Yeah, call it desperation for an Oscar or whatnot, but Leo was committed to the character every step of the way even to the point of eating raw meat, swimming in icy cold rivers, and sleeping in animal carcass -- mmhmm, he did all of that just to deliver us a great show (hah, do you really think it was for us?).
Okay, I guess the question now would be... "with such a great review, why didn't it pass the 9 mark for me?". Well, the thing about The Revenant for me is that the visuals really got me, I was utterly enthralled by it but after the half mark, I partially lost interest in the movie because of how draggy it felt. The movie started appearing more 'beautiful' in a supernatural sense, almost mystical if you would call it, than it was narratively engaging. So while I was completely drawn in, to the point it feels draining by the time it's over, I ultimately felt like there were many moments I paid more attention to the cinematic than what was actually going on with Hugh Glass.
Depending on what you admire most in a film, The Revenant may be a movie you SUPERBLY like, or one that's just a little overly hyped. Whatever it is, the scenes that did grip you are enough to leave some memorable thoughts in your head about the fight between man and nature, yeah I really don't want to be stuck in a jungle or anywhere with bear....ever. Also, I think Andy Serkis did a fantastic job as the bear. So realistic. Pretty sure it was him.
"No! You ain't gonna kill me before I get my award!!!"
For its vision and art direction, I believe The Revenant does deserve its strong 12 Oscar nominations and I think it's safe to say, Leo, you will not leave the hall empty handed -- and it won't be some "Lifetime Achievement" award.
Trailer of The Revenant available here: