"The Revenant" is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as frontiersman Hugh Glass, a man who is viciously mauled by a bear and ultimately left for dead by his men, the main conspirator of the abandonment being Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald. The movie then turns into a survival story, but also a quest for revenge as Glass sets out to find Fitzgerald while also enduring stuff like the harsh winter and vengeful Native Americans.
To start things off, let's talk about Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Hugh Glass. This isn't a role that features a lot of dialogue and when there is dialogue, a majority of it isn't even in English. This is a performance based off of physical requirements and basically all of the stuff that DiCaprio actually did when filming this movie. DiCaprio truly showcases his commitment to this movie by doing some very disturbing things that were allegedly authentic during production and I'm certain all of it will pay off come the Oscars because I believe Leo to be a lock for a best actor win. Tom Hardy also gives a fantastic performance in one of those roles where I probably wouldn't have been able to tell who the actor is if I hadn't already seen the cast list. The only thing about this performance that screams Tom Hardy is the occasional grumbling voice he uses, but he absolutely disappears into this role. Supporting performances that were also very good were that of young stars Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson, an actor who is pretty much having the best possible year with this movie, "The Force Awakens", and "Ex Machina" under his belt. The acting in this movie is universally terrific and is already earning its award consideration.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directs this movie fresh off of his Oscar win for "Birdman" and now he's showing that he wants the Oscar yet again. His direction for this movie is similar in style to "Birdman", yet it also has its own flare to it. There are many times in this movie where a single scene is done in just one take without any noticeable cuts or edits. These shots are seamlessly shot and edited and they make for plenty of authentic and even disturbing imagery. Inarritu also decided to shoot this movie entirely with natural lighting from the outdoor locations rather than using stage lights and focusing on getting the digital lighting just right. This decision makes the movie look 100x more beautiful than it probably already was and we as an audience get great shots of nature mixed with the gritty feel of all of the stuff Hugh Glass endured in his struggle to survive.
This movie also displays some of the more brutal sequences of any movie in 2015. The bear attack sequence that we briefly saw in the trailer is a scene unlike anything else to come out this year. It's gritty, violent, and best of all, realistic as is a lot of the other stuff in this movie. There's plenty of violence and dark imagery to be had with this film and Inarritu doesn't hold back in the slightest. This movie is an accurate representation of these true events that happened in terms of the brutality of it all and I love when a film just goes for the throat in regards to telling the necessary story no matter how it may shock or disturb some people. This movie will surely bother a lot of people with its content, but I found it to be a necessary tool to help tell the story.
My one flaw with this movie, however, is that is being a two hour and thirty-six minute film, there were sequences where I could definitely feel the runtime and it began to effect the movie's pacing. These sequences revolve around Glass having vivid flashbacks and hallucinations of people in his life who were important to him at one point and they felt more like last minute add-ons to try and stretch the movie out for a little longer. I won't go as far as to sat that these scenes were completely unnecessary, but the execution itself could've been done in a way that didn't slow the movie down in a few scenes.
Overall, "The Revenant" is a perfectly acted, well directed film that takes a true story and does it justice with an unflinching story of survival and revenge. This is already getting a ton of awards buzz and now hopefully more people will see why now that it's in wide release. If you're looking for just a well made film, this is the movie you should go see once you get the chance. I really liked this movie a lot and it certainly did its job of making me more interested in the events it depicts.
Rating: Full Price!