Review: The Revenant

revenant

The Revenant is a hard-hitting tale of revenge set in the North West of the United States based on the true story of frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who was left for dead after tragedy and injury befell him.

The film follows a group of men collecting pelts and furs. To say that these men were hard is the understatement of the century. Even the actors had to be hard to get through their intensely cold looking, snowy surrounding while having to remember directions and lines.

That said, if you’re after snappy, fast-paced dialogue that is not the film for you. Most of the players are pretty hard to understand as they mumble and drawl through the script like it was made of treacle. But, the acting is supreme from everyone and the cinematography is beautiful.

The big action set pieces are shot in a really unconventional way in that they look like they’re one shot, but those shots are slightly out-of-the-ordinary. Some of them are shot as though the camera operator is hanging off the side of the horse trying not to be shot at. The film is shot so close during these action scenes that when Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is mauled by a bear it’s so close up and visceral that the audience in the screening I attended were physically squirming in their seats trying to distance themselves from the carnage on-screen.

Visceral is actually the perfect word to describe this film. From the weather to the violence to the things Glass reduced himself to survive, it’s a truly uncomfortable experience. The fact that the characters are usually knee-deep on snow or freezing water actually makes you feel cold – unless director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, insisted that the cinema had to turn down the air conditioning.

The physical reactions to the film aren’t just confined to the beginning of the film either, the final confrontation pulls no punches. So much so that the audience were gasping and flinching.

This is not a particularly uplifting film, so don’t go and see it if you’re feeling a bit low. But it is well worth-while. If it doesn’t win a haul of Oscars it’ll be a surprise. And though I think Leo has been better in other films, he should win just for what he was put through, let alone the fact it’s ‘his turn’.

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2 Responses to “Review: The Revenant”

  1. This film is the visual definition of struggle and hardship. It was an excellent watch, but not because it was enjoyable (none of it was fun) but because it didn’t hide just how evil people, and just how indifferent nature, can be. That bear scene still gives me the shivers, and the thought of being seen merely as afternoon lunch by another animal is unsettling. I was also glad that they showed how vicious the relationship was between the indigenous American people and the European foreigners.

    • Absolutely, couldn’t agree more. It held no punches in it’s portrayal of both the settlers and the indigenous people. Which is kind of refreshing seeing as most of the time film tends to take the side of the downtrodden Indians. In this film, everyone is just out for themselves. Thanks for the comment.

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