The Revenant (♦♦♦)

Glass is the guide of a fur enterprise in the American West. His son Hawk, a half Indian, is everyone Glass has left in the world. When, running from Indians, Glass is severely mauled by a grizzly bear, the remaining members of his expedition must carry him.

Faced with a rocky incline, the Captain offers money to Hawk and two other members of the expedition to stay behind with Glass until he meets his Maker. Only Glass refuses to die. Hawk is killed, and Glass is left for dead in the midst of a brutal winter. But he discovers that his will to survive at any cost, and the need to avenge the death of his son are stronger than any obstacle man or nature puts in his path.

I am a fan of Alejandro García Iñárritu, who directed, wrote the script and produced The Revenant. His best known movies like 21 Grams, and Babel, have a circular storyline in which characters' fates meet in the end. I like that. Lately, however, Iñárritu has abandoned that non-linear narrative in favor of more linear storytelling (e.g. Biutiful, Birdman, and now The Revenant), and it seems it's paying off.

The Revenant has a very elemental quality, from the raw characters' performances to the primeval nature of the environment in which it is shot. DiCaprio's Glass gets mauled by a bear, eats raw fish, raw bison, spends a blizzard, naked, in the innards of a dead horse, and endures the unimaginable to survive.

I have never seen anything quite like it. I heard Leo DiCaprio talk about the process of filming this movie. Apparently they endured more or less what the film reflects. That's quite gutsy if you ask me.

The performances were stellar, from minor characters like Domnhall Gleeson as the Captain, Forrest Goodluck (Hawk) and Will Poulter (Bridger), to the villain Fitzgerald, interpreted by Tom Hardy, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Glass.

Leonardo DiCaprio has extraordinary performances under his belt—The Aviator, The Departed, Revolutionary Road, Blood Diamond, Inception, J. Edgar—but in The Revenant he left his soul in the arena, so to speak.

I do not consider The Revenant a spectacular movie; it didn't take my breath away, but DiCaprio's performance is the essence of that movie, and worth watching if for nothing else.

Comments

  1. So, Leo's Oscar was well-deserved, I gather. I still haven't seen it, but did finally manage to see The Martian last night and found it very enjoyable.

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    1. Definitely well deserved! And about time too.
      I saw The Martian, and bought it too, but didn't think it conveyed the spirit of the book. I thought Matt Damon was miscast. I want to watch it again to see if my opinion changes.

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  2. I would say 'I am pleased you enjoyed this film' but 'enjoy' isn't the right word for this sort of film! It is very powerful and I agree has a stellar cast.

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    1. I agree that the word enjoyment doesn't go hand in hand with this film, but I thought it was less violent and had less gore than any Tarantino movie.

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  3. You really have to hand it to this film - it's a visual feast and on top of that it's as though the director wanted to affect all our senses. You sort of feel the cold and the hunger, the hardship and the misery. I've seen this a couple of times now and whilst it's a very harsh and quite sad film the second time round was better for me. It's definitely not the film to pick up if you're feeling a bit low though! And that scene with the bear - I had to look away!
    Lynn :D

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    1. I agree with you on all counts, Lynn. It is an arresting movie and well acted on top.

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  4. OK, I am going to watch this because so many people, including you and The Academy say it is so great. But I might have to peek through my fingers for parts of it.

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    1. Great may not be the right word but it's worth watching. And you may be surprised that there is less violence than you may have been led to believe, except the bear, of course. :-)

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  5. Oh I thought it was very violent on the Big Screen when it came out. It's intense. I liked the cinematography and scenery. It was quite a viewing experience. It was improbable on survival but a spiritual quest worth seeing.

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    1. I didn't think it was that violent. It must have been quite an experience to see it on the big screen because I saw it on a 7" tablet and the cinematography took my breath away. I think it's curious that you say that it was improbable on survival because it's more or less based on a true story.

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    2. I'm sure it's based or inspired by the true story of the trapper. But flying off a cliff and being in icy water for more than a half hour would likely mean hypothermia. I'm sure it's a survival story but I dont believe the film every inch verbatim. Stuff is always taken to another level for movies.

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    3. I know what you mean. 😊

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  6. I think I'll eventually watch this to see what all the fuss is about but I'm in no hurry. Seems so bleak.

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    1. The movie is very visual and short on unnecessary dialogues. That style of movie making has fans; I'm not one of them, but I recognize the movie is very well done.

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