“The Revenant”: Bears, Blood, Tall Trees and Treachery

Ok, let’s dive straight in with the cinematography, courtesy of Emmanuel Lubezki; he is clearly the MVP here, as the general look of the film is undeniably gorgeous, epic and wondrous. The locations are breathtaking (I never knew trees could be that tall!) and while watching, I was definitely reminded of “The Lord of the Rings”, since they both have the same epic feel and wondrous grandeur. When the film finally picks up steam, it certainly becomes very engaging and the audience is able to be fully immersed in Inarritu’s world, feeling both the bitter cold and the beauty of a silent, starry night. In addition, the music is brilliantly used and definitely adds to the overall atmosphere.

On to the performances and it goes without saying that Leonardo DiCaprio confidently carries the film, letting the audience clearly see Glass’ determination and bravery. Praise should also be given to Domnhall Gleeson, who is also a strong, commanding presence as Captain Andrew Henry and also to Will Poulter; he is definitely the heart of the movie, playing Jim Bridger with genuine integrity and compassion.

This film also boasts many spectacular set pieces, such as the pivotal bear attack and a wonderfully bloody fight at the end. I went into this film expecting a barrage of gore and blood, but it’s honestly not that bad and the amount of graphic violence used is perfectly acceptable.

However, I have to say that this film has been swept up in Oscar fever too much and while “The Revenant” is a great film to see on the big screen, it has been seriously overhyped. When all the beautiful locations and epic camerawork is taken away, there isn’t too much depth to be found and overall, there isn’t much to be taken away from it. It is overlong and I certainly found my mind wandering at certain points.

So in conclusion, while “The Revenant” is undeniably gorgeous, epic and engaging, it has been overhyped and it lacks depth at certain points.

4 Stars

3 comments

  1. Over-hyped and Overlong are perfect words to describe this. I think because of these two things, it comes off as being pretentious as well. There is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. It’s tough to say bad things about this movie, but there was almost too much, and that might be the biggest reason for it feeling long and tired. This could have benefited from a “less is more” approach in many areas for sure.

    I am curious– Your movie ratings having a bit of an inconsistent approach; some having stars, others having a letter grade. Is there a reason for this or are you still trying to figure out which one works best for you?

    I myself have thought about changing from a letter grade to a numbering system, but I haven’t convinced myself yet that it’s the best way for me. Just wanted to ask this as I was going through some of your posts and noticed they were all different here and there.

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  2. Aye, you may be right with the “less is more” there…
    As for the ratings, I do star ratings for films and letter grades for individual TV episodes (an overall series review would get a star rating though…)

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  3. The one problem that I had with this movie was that, by the end, I didn’t care if Glass won the final fight. A fight with another man was nothing compared to what this character had been through and survived. He lost his son and came back to life, what else could Fitzgerald do to him? I didn’t feel that there was much at stake. Overall, I agree that this film had a spectacular production. I just thought maybe they could town down the whole Rambo survival aspect.

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