The Revenant (2016)

Hot off a successful award season, The Revenant is slowly winding down it’s impressive six-week run and I managed to get in a watch. (albeit late to the party I know, but still)

Leonardo Dicaprio in the run up to this film was tipped to finally take home that famed Best Actor Oscar. DiCaprio gives a rather excellent performance as Hugh Glass, a man well travelled in rural America, that at the time is being discovered and pillaged by a groups of American and French pelt hunters.

Emmanuel Lubezki, who previously worked with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu on Birdman, is responsible for the jaw-dropping, vast beautiful picturesque backdrops of America. However, it’s not just the backdrops that are fantastic, the camera work is dizzyingly close to the action and downright immersive, especially from the first scene onwards. Inarritu has managed to continue his fantastic use of camera work from Birdman, and making film seem like one big tracking shot and fully intoxicating camerawork throughout the film. (But in the good way)

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Often with these big picturesque and fancy films, it’s let down by the characters, or the story. With The Revenant it’s not the case, both keep up the high level of filmmaking and enjoyment with the central characters revolving around Hugh Glass (Leo), Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Henry (Domnhall Gleeson) and Bridger (Will Poulter). Naturally Leo takes center stage with Tom Hardy playing the adversary, but the supporting cast comprised of Poulter and Gleeson ups the ante and enjoyment level.

My only issue with the story comes with the pacing of the film. After the whirlwind start to the film, and the bear attack, the films pace slows dramatically. Between this and final act (if you could call it that) the films pace is slow and could have done with shaving off. However, this doesn’t take anything away from the enjoyment because as Glass wanders the rural American landscape, the shots and scenes are enchanting and a pleasure to watch on-screen.

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I thought the music was a massive success in this film, as the diegetic sound is simply outstanding. The creaking of the trees was the most evoking sound throughout the film as Glass spends nights in the woods recuperating and all that can be heard is the creaking of the trees, enhancing the mood of the film and immersive tactic employed by Inárritu.

As with the fantastic sound, acting and story, the effects were incredible, but admittedly, it was gruesome. I won’t divulge too many details on this, as it could ruin the storyline, but Glass’ bear attack wounds, the horse scene and the whirlwind opening scene all showcase this fantastic use of effects and the very brutality of these effects throughout the film.

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Inárritu has created a fantastic piece of filmmaking and throughly enjoyable. That being said, it isn’t exactly the perfect piece of film, but it’s not far from it as it has everything. An intriguing backstory from Fitzgerald and Glass, the evoking and immersive sound and of course a film rife with action completed with the stunning backdrops and scenes with the help of Lubezski.

If the film could’ve been shaved off by anywhere around half hour the film would’ve made me settle more instead of me looking at my watch half way through the run time. The film was worthy of the Oscars it won though, including Best Actor, but I cannot comment on Best Picture as I’ve not seen Spotlight. All this being said, I’m rather glad I caught this at the cinema because it was such a good cinema experience to watch unfold, with the intriguing and mysterious character, the creative and incredible effects and the immersive action scenes.

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