‘The Revenant’ Review

Directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu

Written by Alejandro G. Inarritu and Mark L. Smith

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter

★★★★☆

Following up “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” which was the recipient of last year’s Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director, among others, Alejandro G. Inarritu brings forth “The Revenant.” With “Birdman” Inarritu made a film that was edited to look like the movie was shot in one continuous take, in “The Revenant” Inarritu delivers another ambitious, for lack of a better term, gimmick. In this movie, he shot the movie using only natural light. While that means the crew included lighting people, it did not include elaborate lighting rigs usually used for productions of this scope. The naturally lit cinematography was gorgeous; it gave the film an atmosphere of gritty and raw realism unparalleled in any film this year. The atmosphere of the film is not only a result of the cinematography; the atmosphere was also a result of the location shooting and the close ups. In shooting “The Revenant,” Inarritu did not want to shoot using a green screen. Therefore, the film required extensive location shooting. In this film, Inarritu uses so many close ups that you would think you were watching Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables.” Unlike “Les Mis” where Hooper used too many close-ups and much of the time it felt out of place, Inarritu uses the close-up device to significant effect. How effective Inarritu is in using the close up is shown in the opening battle sequence. He uses the device to build tension and create a taut sequence that constantly shift between the different characters. And this creates an engaging action scene that creates an air of intensity that does not let up for the rest of the film.

“The Revenant” includes an exceptional cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, both of whom deliver excellent performances. DiCaprio gives what is easily one of the best performances of his career. DiCaprio has little dialogue in the movie, yet his performance provided a quiet intensity that allows the audience to feel the vengeance and wrath building inside of his character. His performance is certainly Oscar caliber, assuming Oscar caliber, assuming Eddie Redmayne does not win, this year will finally be his year, and he will win the Oscar he should have won for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Tom Hardy gives a riveting performance, that like DiCaprio’s was full of intensity and Oscar caliber as well. Although, unlike DiCaprio, I doubt Hardy will see the nomination. It is a shame that people are not talking about Hardy’s performance in the film the way they are talking about DiCaprio’s.

There has been much made about a “bear rape” scene, but this scene, however, does not exist. There is a bear attack scene, and that scene is tense and thrilling. Although, I am left to wonder at what point does a bear attack become bear rape? There are certain points in the bear attack where it appears to look like bear rape, but not it is only a bear attack. Also, the movie is inspired by the true story of Hugh Glass, and at no point does his story state that he got raped by a bear, only attacked. The allegations that this movie contains bear rape are exaggerated.

“The Revenant” is a must-see, a must-see at the cinema because the cinematography is too gorgeous for home viewing or worse yet on a smartphone.

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