Hot Take: Brutality and ugliness can be beautiful. The stunning visuals of The Revenant combined with the details of the grisly story are sometimes hard to digest together. It’s a film you don’t want to stop watching even though you feel, at times, maybe you should. Leonardo DiCaprio delivers the performance of his career.
Occasionally, viewing The Revenant feels like a test of endurance. Some will find it to be a task and dismiss the film in a number of ways. For me, it intensified the viewing experience and helped create a rare bond between myself and the main character, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio). Early on, there was a connection that carried throughout which enhanced the film to another level. Typically, those types of connections are reserved for when you can relate to the character. In this case, the cinematography, performances and pacing contribute more to the connection than any personal connection.
The Revenant isn’t your casual popcorn flick. It challenges the audience to endure. It’s rare a film does so with the level of execution The Revenant possesses. Maybe it’s biggest flaw is in it’s length but, honestly, I don’t remember a scene feeling unnecessary or a visual I’d do without. At 156 minutes, such an accomplishment isn’t easy. Director Alejandro González Inarritu (Birdman, 21 Grams) and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity, Children of Men) pull it off.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- A Simple Yet Gripping Story…
Not every film has to be complicated and at it’s most basic level The Revenant is a simple tale about vengeance. If you want to leave it there and only think of the film on that level, it works very well.
- Yet the Subplots and Context Are Complex and Worthy of Thought
There are so many things going on in the periphery of the film. Because you’re so engrossed in DiCaprio’s performance and his character, you might not even notice it right away. It didn’t really start hitting me until about 12 hours after watching the film.
- Leonardo DiCaprio
Despite four (three as best actor, one as best supporting actor) previous nominations, DiCaprio has never won an Academy Award. There isn’t a better performance than this one in 2015.
- The Bear Attack
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Can’t Imagine How Horrible The Film Is If You Don’t Connect
If you don’t find yourself engaged in the film in the first 30 minutes or so, I don’t usually suggest this but you might want to leave. This is going to get really tough for you.