The Revenant is the story of a man who ends up really needing a bath.
Alejandro Inarritu has made many great movies throughout the years, such as the frenetic Birdman and the chaotic yet pensive Babel. But he had yet to make a film that I truly loved. Until now. The Revenent is a powerhouse film of survival in which a trapper named Glass is left for dead by his group and he must fight with every ounce of his being to return. There’s more to his motivations than that, mind you, but I don’t want to give too much away.
The movie is gripping from beginning to end, whether its the attack scenes which put you right in the moment, or the scenes of solitude where Glass is simply struggling to do something as simple as walk, or even just stand up. DiCaprios’ performances holds you to every moment. You feel the weight and determination of this character. On the flip side, Tom Hardy’s performances is equally great yet very different as Fitzgerald, the practical and selfish trapper whose trying to survive on his own scale and in his own way. Will Poulter and newcomer Forrest Goodluck also add to the authentic performances. This is a great movie for acting, even if its not an “acting showcase” film if you will.
Emmanuel Lubezki continues to show why he’s my favourite cinematographer. He has such a wonderful vision of what the film should look like, and each film he seems to try something new. The scenic Canadian photography in The Revenant is gorgeously captured in almost every frame. Meanwhile, the camera work has this interesting motion which keeps panning away from and back to the characters, giving a real sense of being trapped in the woods right there along with them.
The sound in this film is another resounding success, as all the noises of the North American wilderness surround the audience, creating total immersion into the film. Evey footstep in the snow sounds crisp, every snapping twig or distant call is so present. And the one noise that can be heard consistently and clearly is the sound of breathing, which there is a strong thematic reasoning for that you will understand when you watch it. These breaths are especially important to the interpretation of the ending.
The Revenant is a beautiful movie with a captivating, edge-of-your-seat narrative. Its full of authentic performances in an authentic landscape, with lots of depth to everything. Those with weak stomachs may have a problem, especially with a couple of scenes that pop into ind immediately, but they only add to the authenticity. One of the greatest frontier films ever made.