Movie Review: The Revenant

This weekend we took yet another trip to the cinema to take in one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year, The Revenant. We’re pleased to say it was well worth the trip! It’s little wonder that Alejandro Inarritu’s follow up to the award winning Birdman has garnered a hatful of Oscar nominations.

The Revenant is loosely based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper and frontiersman during the 1820’s. It’s fair to say Glass has a pretty rough time of things; he’s involved in skirmishes with Native American tribes, almost mauled to death by a grizzly and then left to die by his companions. Little is known about the real Glass, other than these facts and, as with most films based on true stories; the director has been given creative license to enhance the story. Rumours of an excruciating experience of filming seem almost as brutal as the story portrayed on screen. Inarritu’s insistence that the film be shot in the most realistic way possible led to clashes with producers and others involved behind the scenes with reports that the unpredictable weather led to the actors enduring freezing temperatures in lighter clothing as the scene was supposed to be set in autumn and not winter.

 The Revenant photo
Photo by Wolf Gang

However, the proof is in the pudding and it’s clear to us that all of the challenges faced behind the scenes have made for an astonishing cinematic experience. Much has been made of the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is yet to win an Oscar but we don’t think anyone could begrudge him his first for this performance. The talk has mostly been of the ordeals the actor faced during filming and not enough has been made of a remarkable performance which further cements his status as the leading man in Hollywood. Dialogue is at a minimum for Hugh Glass, partly due to the severity of the bear attack, and DiCaprio carries the movie forward through sheer physicality of his performance as he drags, hobbles and grunts himself back to civilisation. The Revenant is also quite possibly one of the most aesthetically stunning movies you will ever see with the breath taking panoramic scenes shot on location mostly in Canada and Argentina the ingenious camera work which makes you feel like you’re right there with the characters through their ordeal.

There are also star turns from the supporting cast with the target of Glass’ revenge, John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy. Hardy, not to be outshone by his more experienced co-star, manages to create an utter monster of a man both with the delivery of his dialogue and despicable actions making you route for DiCaprio’s character even more. Alongside Hardy is a star turn from up and coming English star Will Poulter playing the young trapper Jim Bridger who stays behind with Fitzgerald to tend to the injured Glass. The juxtaposition of the morally righteous Bridger and morally devoid Fitzgerald builds further tension throughout the intense scenes.

A classic western tale of survival and revenge The Revenant is a movie that will surely stand the test of time. Hyper-realistic and at times gory it is a cinematic experience not to be missed, it has absolutely everything: the soundtrack, the stunning visuals, tense dialogue and a physical performance from DiCaprio that has you grimacing with every laboured step of his character. Ultimately we award The Revenant five popcorns out of five and the one to be beat at this year’s Oscars.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve been to see The Revenant yet and what you thought of it.