The Revenant (2015) Movie Review | A Fantastic Story of Survival and Revenge

Returning after his award-winning 2014 hit Birdman, director Alejandro González Iñárritu brings to life another award worthy movie in 2015, The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, The Revenant is based on the story of Hugh Glass in the early 1800s. (Granted, the film was based on the Michael Punke book from 2002).

It’s not a direct re-telling, and takes creative liberties to the story, hence the tagline that it’s inspired by (but not based on) true events. The main concept of the story is the same none the less. Glass’ story is all about revenge. A man with nothing to lose who is after the one who took it all away.

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The film is a simple tale, but it’s the way we see Glass work up to his revenge that has us rooting for him to see it through. We see Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) being seriously injured and fighting to stay alive. After witnessing horrendous events in what seems like his final hours he pushes through, and doesn’t rest until he gets the revenge he desires. Glass keeps fighting even though the odds are stacked against him. He is forced to use survival skills out in the woods, one of which included healing his wounds quite painfully.

There is a lot of violence in the movie. Those who get queasy easily will get so viewing this film. Don’t let it deter you, it’s a great film. However, know going in you will see a significant amount of blood and gore; I was personally cringing in my seat seeing it all, along with those I viewed the film with. With this point however, the makeup artists did a phenomenal job. All the injuries look and seem real.

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The actors all do a great job at making the whole thing seem real as well. My only real gripe is any non-horse animal is done with CGI, which takes away a little from the realism experience. It’s good CGI, but CGI isn’t exactly the most realistic looking thing in the world.

All the actors do a fantastic job at portraying their characters. Tom Hardy (as John Fitzgerald) plays the man who cares for no one but himself greatly. He cares only about personal gain, and nothing else. His interactions with all the characters drive the point home, and that’s great to see. Will Poulter (as Bridger), Forrest Goodluck (as Hawk) and Domhnall Gleeson (as Captain Andrew Henry) all do quite well in their supporting roles.

The man of the hour is of course Leonardo DiCaprio, who manages to steal the show despite only having a few lines of dialogue. It’s an emotional performance (quite literally so), and DiCaprio pulls off one of the best performances of his career.

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Proper praise should be given to Iñárritu. The film is filled with incredible shots, and great transitions. There’s a ton of continuous shots as well, all done incredible well. The director is experienced with that, especially coming off of the aforementioned Birdman. The cinematography is phenomenal, and a shoo-in for the award for Best Cinematography.

The Revenant is one of those rare films that barely use dialogue and still manage to be a great film, and it’s characters and how real they all feel that bring it home. Iñárritu did another fantastic movie, one he should wear with confidence. While a lot of scenes aren’t exactly easy on the stomach, the raw emotion we see in the characters more than makes up for it. See you at the award shows, The Revenant!

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