'The Revenant' is one of the most honest pieces of filmmaking I've seen in a long time. It's so refreshing to see a movie that has no time for any modern agendas, is a technical marvel, is perfectly cast, and uses its locations to breathtaking affect. There's so much good in this movie, I'm going to start off with the bad. For me, the worst thing about this movie is the hype. Leo is going around touting how "unfathomable" the production was, like a WWII veteran or something. We get it. The crew actually had to earn their millions this time around. Moving on. Everyone(including myself now), is spouting off how great this film is, so it seems pretentious before you even watch it. However, any skepticism melts away instantly, as the film starts off with a jaw dropping intro that establishes dominance over any preconceived notions you may have. This film also contains a few dream sequence shots, and while they fit in, they were a bit unnecessary. If they were taken out I don't think they would've been missed since they didn't add much to the overall narrative. Other than that, I don't think I can come up with any other complaints.
The film is about a frontier trapper named Hugh Glass(Leonardo DiCaprio) in a fight for survival. After escaping an Indian attack and moving deep into a nightmarish wilderness, his two buddies Jim Bridger(Will Poulter) and John Fitzgerald(Tom Hardy) leave him for dead after he's mauled by a bear. The following struggle showcases Glass battling the elements for hundreds of miles in order to live so he can enact his revenge. DiCaprio nails his performance in every way, which is especially impressive when considering his limited dialogue. The bear attack scene alone is phenomenal. Through his blood curdling shrieks and pure looks of terror, he truly convinced me that's what it would be like to be mauled by a bear. Throughout the film he hits every emotional note perfectly, including rage, happiness, tear-welling sadness, toughness, full on surrender, and everything in-between.
DiCaprio's performance is rivaled only by that of Tom Hardy's. I'm still left wondering who did the better job. Hardy's gravelly character Fitzgerald is a brutal man from a forgotten time, and is probably my favorite aspect of this movie. He was a constant reminder of what life used to be out in the unknown, and his life alone will make you feel thankful for all of your modern day comforts, albeit at a significant cost to your manhood. The rest of the cast also holds up extremely well. Something I thought was great about this movie was that everyone was villainized in there own way. The frontiersman, the Indians, the frenchman, they were all portrayed as mean, dangerous, and not to be trusted. The cast pulled this off perfectly, and didn't disappoint me in any way.
The technical aspects of 'The Revenant' is another triumph. This film was shot entirely with natural light, which is an amazing feat all on its own. The skill and mastery it would take to pull that off is beyond me, and it really sets the tone. It breathed life into every location; I felt cold just sitting in the theater. I was also at a loss while watching the camerawork. If there was an Academy Award for perfect tracking shots, this crew would win, hands down.
All in all, this movie is one of the greats. This film is what people who love movies wait for, year after year. It successfully takes you to another time and place, and holds up even under the most critical of microscopes. Go see this film in the theater, and then buy it. And then get the poster. And hang it in your room where you can look at it when you wake up. 'The Revenant' is that good. My hat's off to director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for creating this masterpiece.
'The Revenant': 9.75/10