Inspired by true events “The Revenant” is directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman) and takes place in 1823 following a group of trappers searching for pelts in the unexplored northern regions of the Louisiana Purchase. When their guide Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio) is injured and left for dead by John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) the story turns into one man’s journey for revenge, but he has to deal with the French,the elements and a group of out for revenge also..
One of the first things you notice about this movie is the beauty of the wilderness. I have never seen the country look so beautiful, backdrops of mountains and the light hitting just perfectly. Alejandro G, Inarritu stated that he wanted to use only natural light throughout the movie and it shows waiting for the perfect moments to show the wonder and danger of these environments. The woods become just as big a character in the movie as the actors. Inarritu is known for using continuous shots, I won’t ruin the movie but after the first action sequence you will be looking in the background waiting for something to happen. He conveyed that this environment was treacherous and could turn on you and attack at any moment you see the terror and paranoia in the actors eyes you realize that any moment could be their last.
The performances by Tom Hardy and Leonardo Dicaprio are stellar as well. They both deserve all the recognition they have received for this. Early in the movie the dynamic of their relationship is not something we haven’t seen before. Dicaprio is the well traveled hunter/trapper who cares about people and Hardy only cares about his money and less for the well being of others. The dynamic really changes once Dicaprio is injured and left for dead from this point on the story with Hardy becomes something almost supernatural or mythological. Hardy as Fitzgerald devolves into something more than just a villain he is more akin to a monster. He becomes this wild creature who only cares about one thing and will destroy anything in his way to get it. There are scenes where he has this wild look in his face that you feel as if he could snap at any moment. When he talks you can slowly see that he is becoming more and more unhinged. On the other end of the spectrum is Dicaprio as Glass he is like the phoenix literally clawing his way out of the grave and slowly rising up as the movie progresses. He is focused on one task alone and though he can’t do a lot the environment and nature provide for him to make it back to his final destination. I mentioned in the title that this is one man’s journey to hell and back which is exactly what Dicaprio goes through Hell. You feel for him and almost feel bad watching him have to endure such hardships. That’s just a testament to the caliber of acting he brings to “the Revenant”. If I had one problem with the movie it would be that some of the stuff that happen to him is almost too coincidental. Hurts the suspension of disbelief when you have to say to yourself “well that lined up nicely for him didn’t it”. All the performances were great in this movie, but Tom Hardy and Leonardo Dicaprio definitely brought their A game.
At the end of the day this movie is not going to be for everyone clocking in at two hours and thirty-six minutes you are in for a long ride. The trailers make this seem like it is a film completely about revenge and while that is a big aspect, it’s more about one man’s fight and his drive to get his revenge. If you want something similar to a spaghetti western with action from beginning to end you will be let down, but if you want to see a movie that can be compared to art on the big screen with nice bits of action than this is for you.
I for one will be picking this one up when it released on Blu-ray. It feels like one of those movies that I must have in my collection. The Revenant is the type of movie that when people ask why do I still go to the movies I would show them this just for the beauty of it.
The Revenant is in theaters now