While exploring uncharted wilderness in 1823, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home while avoiding natives on their own hunt. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance, Glass treks through the wintry terrain to track down John Fitzgerald, the former confidant who betrayed and abandoned him.Written by
Shot only with natural light but with only one exception, according to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki: a campfire sequence at night where the wind was causing the fire to pulse in a distracting way. "We had to lay a bunch of light bulbs around the fire to create a cushion of light," Lubezki admits. "That's all the light we used." [16 Dec. 2015, Variety] See more »
Glass, while recovering from his wounds, has a couple dream sequences. One of the images he recalls is a memory of seeing a huge pile of animal skulls during his time in the wilderness. Humans hunting wildlife to this degree (and piling up their skull bones) didn't occur in the 1820's. It happened later in the 19th Century American West, with the resultant near-extinction of the Plains buffalo herds. See more »
It's okay son... I know you want this to be over. I'm right here. I will be right here... But you don't give up. You hear me? As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe... keep breathing.
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At the end of the end credits: "The making and authorized distribution of this film supported over 15,000 jobs and involved hundreds of thousands of work hours." See more »
Linear survival tale in which revenge becomes secondary
I haven't seen all of Alejandro González Iñárritu's films. Those I have seen were excellent or at least very good: "Amores Perros", "21 Grams", "Babel" and "Birdman".
When I saw the trailer for "The Revenant", needless to say, I immediately thought it had tremendous potential and got pretty hyped up about it. It showed gorgeous, naturally-lit cinematography, dynamic directing, a historical depiction of the early 19th century savagery, and what seemed to be quite a visceral performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.
I thought that, with Iñárritu's name attached to it, this would be a much deeper film than what I ended up watching, at least in its depictions of history, first nations, and in its ability to exploit classic themes such as revenge and survival.
Without saying that "The Revenant" is an empty shell (although a gorgeous one), Iñárritu's film fails to impress when it comes to depth, thanks to a linear and predictable narrative structure, one dimensional characters, and a revenge plot that never manages to be compelling to the audience.
DiCaprio offers a demanding, physical performance with very little dialogue, but his character, always in survival mode, never reached me emotionally. All the agony grunting and wincing, enhanced by the costumes and make up sure make the character believable, but the script never allows the character to develop or to unfold anything that goes beyond an extremely narrow range of emotions. Very unfortunate.
Tom Hardy is okay as the antagonist, another character that suffers from his development being jilted by the writers. This is an unfortunate mistake to make in a revenge-themed film, where the antagonist is supposed to nourish the quest. In "The Revenant", the antagonist is barely a background character that will leave the audience almost emotionless and neutral.
The directing (Alejandro González Iñárritu) and cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) are the highlights here. Visually, "The Revenant" is flawless. The framing of the shots, the camera movements and the snowy, low-saturation imagery are all gorgeous. Some scenes are absolutely incredible to watch.
Editing-wise, Stephen Mirrione could have cut a few corners here and there. And this is coming from a movie enthusiast who sure appreciates a slow-paced film. Watching Hugh Glass walk through the endless forest was great, but you do see at least a dozen very-low angle shots of trees. They're just as beautiful as they're eerie, but slightly redundant at times.
Overall, "The Revenant" is not a bad film. It just isn't a great one either. It does have its moments. Definitely a case of style over substance, "The Revenant" disappoints both as a revenge tale and as a meditation on the savagery of both man and nature. Plot-wise, its flaws keep "The Revenant" in a linear survival tale in which revenge becomes secondary.
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