Leonardo DiCaprio battles the elements – and a ferocious bear – in this fierce, elemental western from 'Birdman' director Alejandro González Iñárritu
After the playful, urban and contemporary humour of the Oscar-winning ‘Birdman’, this bleak-faced 1820s-set frontier western sees Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu return to the darker worldview of his earlier films like ‘Babel’ and ‘21 Grams’.
Based on a 2002 Michael Punke novel about real-life folk hero Hugh Glass, ‘The Revenant’ stars Leonardo DiCaprio (gruff, committed, unreadable) as a fur trapper and frontiersman left for dead by his colleagues in a wintry American landscape after he is viciously shredded by a grizzly bear. Glass survives, and he hauls his damaged body through snow, across rivers, up rocks and over plains, driven by revenge. In his sights is John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, savage with a dash of black humour), the man responsible for abandoning him to die and for forcing him to watch as his young son (of mixed-race parentage) is murdered in front of his eyes.
So, no, it’s not a happy tale. But what survives from ‘Birdman’ is a compelling, forward-moving, simple approach to storytelling that grips us through stretches of silence and misery. The film's relentlessness itself becomes magnetic. There are times when 'The Revenant' feels like one long and unforgiving act of sadism, mostly directed at its lead character, but occasionally at us (a warning: the film is long, the dialogue is minimal and the violence is sharp). There are moments, too, that feel like parodies of awards-hungry acting, such as when we see DiCaprio chomping on raw animal organs or climbing into the steaming carcass of a dead horse.
But what makes this more than just a punishing, fearful, expertly crafted thriller focused on one man’s endurance is heavily down to Emmanuel Lubezki’s attractive, thoughtful photography. Lubezki’s work will be familiar to viewers of Terrence Malick’s recent films (including ‘The Tree of Life’) for the timeless sense of soulfulness that he can lend to a landscape. Here, that same visual style, coupled with the film’s concern for the Native American experience and its compassion for the father-child bond, makes ‘The Revenant’ not just gruelling, but often gorgeous and quietly spiritual.
Cast and crew
Average User Rating
3.7 / 5
- 5 star:14
- 4 star:10
- 3 star:9
- 2 star:4
- 1 star:3
I wasn't expecting the sublime beauty in this otherwise gruesome film. The music, the scenery, the sounds accompanying every scene, whether running water, cold wind, or the shallow breathing of the main character. It all adds up to a master movie that took me by surprise. The Oscar for Leo is in the bag already. The last close-up looking at the camera, breaking the 4th wall was sublime. Hardy is menacing and complex and adds to the great tension and drama of this movie.The cinematography is beyond Oscar-worthy, violent and spiritual at the same time. Best director and best picture are probably in the bag as well. This is a movie that is huge and small at the same time, and there in lies its magnificence.
Brilliant movie, superb acting by both Leonardo DC and Tom Hardy and the scenery........well that was the winner for me. Just sheer beauty all around even in the harshness of those severe winters. Some of the scenes are hard to watch knowing that the movie is based on a true story. The will of man to survive against all odds is very clearly shown through this story. Delighted that Leo finally got an Oscar for this magnificent portrayal/acting.
If ever an actor deserved an Oscar, it's Leonardo Dicaprio for the sheer commitment to this epic film. While most people could barely function in these kinds of conditions, Leo pulled another superb performance out of the bag to deliver an award-winning performance of a man whose endurance is almost unbelievable. A couple of my friends thought it was too long and "arty" but I loved the contrast of brutality with sweeping scenes of the stunning landscape. As a couple of other reviewers have said, I could barely understand what Tom Hardy was saying for most of the film, but didn't feel as though this took away from my enjoyment. Would definitely recommend seeing The Revenant on the big screen if you can.
Watching this movie gave me a chill - the experience is that immersive. The cinematography is wonderful - but it was the sounds of nature throughout the movie that I found most powerful. Should have won best picture. The Oscars get it totally wrong - again. Go see it on the big screen. The DVD will be a pale comparison.
A beautifully shot survivalist picture with a mighty central performance from Di Caprio. It is a bit too long and there should have been a bit more back story to how the characters linked up at the start. Hardy was basically a cardboard cutout and reminded me of Tom Berenger in 'Platoon'. His character was too underwritten. The violence was hard and brutal, THAT bear scene a little OTT but for the most part it was a well made piece of cinema. I'm just not really sure what exactly it was trying to say...
I wasn't expecting the sublime beauty in this otherwise gruesome film. The music, the scenery, the sounds accompanying every scene, whether running water, cold wind, or the shallow breathing of the main character. It all adds up to a master movie that took me by surprise. The Oscar for Leo is in the bag already. The last close-up looking at the camera, breaking the 4th wall was sublime. Hardy is menacing and complex and adds to the great tension and drama of this movie. The cinematography is beyond Oscar-worthy, violent and spiritual at the same time. Best director and best picture are probably in the bag as well. This is a movie that is huge and small at the same time, and there in lies its magnificence.
This powerful film should carry a health warning. The violence is not just what you see as the very effective sound track allows you to feel the thud of each arrow, the groan of each wind blown tree, the creak of each floor board. This violence comes with the territory and men fighting over it. It is very realistic but is not glorified.
There are many memorable moments in this magnificent film. For me the camera tracks up from the body of a dead horse, surrounded by trees and snow and I can see a cave painting.
There are many moments when out of horror comes that unexpected beauty, shockingly juxtaposed.
Long, long, long, long, long, long, etc. Did I mention that this film goes on for a long time? It's hard to see why it was nominated for 12 Oscars. I'm guessing that's because there isn't much else to choose from.
Best summed up as "Gladiator" set to a wild-west theme.
(In the end you'll end up not caring who dies/who survives.)
Three - generous - stars.
It was mesmerising cinematography set in a beautiful wintry terrain. Not much of a script but a gripping 19th century fur trapper thriller! Where surviving the winter outdoors and bear fights was impressive. Leonardo DiCaprio pulled off an excellent performance – I hope he now gets the Oscar he deserves.
The cinematographer deserves an award. The script is dreadful though: no story, one-dimensional characters, predictable plot and inevitable showdown. It's also fantastically up itself running on for so long and the pacing is poor. Cutting it in half would have dramatically improved it. There is no way this deserves the plaudits it's getting.
very disappointing , i just dont understand how films like this get great reviews, the cinematography was great, the film though was laborious and slow ,what he survives unbelievable though of course he had watched some Bear grylls programmes i suppose. whats anyone can see spiritual about it goodness knows. i am giving it one star in reaction to the ridiculous hype it has had in reality i would peobably say somewhere between 2 and 3.
I can't imagine how our hero survived two grizzly bear attacks was buried alive went over not one but two waterfalls and let's not forget his horse jumped off a cliff and the horse was killed and our hero survived. My husband fell asleep and I willed the hero to die but I was determined to sit it out how it won rave reviews I'll never know. The most boring film I've ever sat through and believe you me I've sat through some rubbish! Jackie