Jean-Paul’s Rating: 4/5 stars
Bottom Line: Majestic landscapes interspersed between bouts of brutal violence and hardship.
Apparently, it’s bloody, brutal life and sweeping frontier backdrop season. First, “The Hateful Eight” and now “The Revenant”. Not that the two movies are at all similar beyond that. It’s just odd that two movies with both an unusual location and time period would be released so close together.
“The Revenant” takes place somewhere around the time when the United States was pushing west and soldiers were gently and lovingly maiming and killing as many Native Americans as possible while at the same time raping the land of as many pelts as they could get their hands on. AKA the American Dream. One such group of Dreamers was packing up their haul of pelts when an unruly pack of savages descended upon them and tried to take their Dream away just because some Dreamer had kidnapped one of the savage’s daughters. Why can’t the savages just quietly protest in a corner somewhere where no one can hear them? The nerve of some people.
Most of the action in “The Revenant” follows Hugh Glass’ (Leonardo DiCaprio) epic trek for revenge after he is left for dead after being brutally mauled by a bear and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) kills Glass’ son right in front of him when his son attempts to stop Fitzgerald from abandoning Glass. The bear scene is a little hard to watch. I have no idea how they filmed it, but it looked pretty darn real. Glass literally digs himself out of his own grave and proceeds to crawl, scrape, and hobble his way back to civilization and the unfortunate John Fitzgerald.
The movie is sweepingly beautiful and gorgeously shot. It is full of majestic shots of mountains and rivers and forests and snow and ice. At 156 minutes run time, I would guess 30 or so are dedicated to such shots. This is both a compliment and a complaint. It really is beautiful, but that combined with another 30 minutes of DiCaprio grunting and groaning his way across said landscapes leads me to wish that a bit more creative editing was done to lower the run time some.
There are also two fantastic acting jobs by both DiCaprio and Hardy. Both have received multiple nominations for their roles, but I believe Hardy is much more worthy. Watch his eyes. You can see him processing his surroundings and searching for justification for his actions. It’s quite beautiful.
2016 is starting off well so far. Two movies back to back that I would definitely recommend to most people. As with “The Hateful Eight”, my one warning would be that this movie is pretty brutally violent. And more realistically so than “The Hateful Eight”. It could be tough to watch for some viewers.