Review by Hans Eskelsen
The Revenant – A Must See!
Hold on Bear Grylls, we have a new survivor in town! After the western and frontier genre in motion pictures came close to extinction in the film industry, this is turning out to be the year for western and frontier films. The Hateful Eight, The Revenant, Jane Got a Gun, and more are either out in theaters or coming soon. I have always been a western fan, back to True Grit, Shane, and A Fistful of Dollars. Even though The Revenant is not a western film, it sparks that time period like Dances with Wolves, There Will Be Blood, and The Last of the Mohicans. Can The Revenant continue the insurgence of the frontier movies and inspire more to come?
Written and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for Birdman last year, The Revenant is a story which takes place in the 1820s in the Wyoming and Dakota Territories. The story is about Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio (who is known for his acting in Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and many more!). Glass is a scout for a hunting party that collects and sells animal hides. His party is ambushed by a Native American tribe who thinks the hunting party kidnapped the chief’s daughter. On the run, Glass’s party tries to make it back to their frontier fort. Glass gets attacked by a bear and barely is alive. Because of the harsh winter conditions, the party’s decision whether to make an effort to keep Glass alive and simultaneously slow them down or to leave him to his own devices brings up a moral dilemma within the group. I am not saying more because there’s so much involved that it wouldn’t be fair to those wanting to view this film.
It isn’t very often that a movie comes along where you are so captured by the imagery and the story that you forget you are sitting in a movie theater. The Revenant is one movie that will change the movie industry for the better. With TV movies increasing their quality, The Revenant takes filmmaking to a new level. It wasn’t filmed in front of a green screen, nor was it done to make profit, but its quality should pay for itself. Iñárritu stated, “If we ended up in green screen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of *$^@.” Iñárritu took it to another level. The movie was shot in natural light, meaning that they didn’t bring in light. Because of this and the weather required, it took nine months to shoot the film. Ultimately, it paid off. The visuals are stunning and it really makes you feel like you are there in that time period.
The best acting performance and most underrated actor in the film (and I am glad that the Academy Awards noticed, as he has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor for the Oscars) was Tom Hardy, who played the character John Fitzgerald. His character is the cherry on top. Not in the sweet sense. He is very dark, but brings the flow and flavor to the film. He displayed a side that made you understand his background, yet disagree with his decision-making and rationale. Tom Hardy is an actor that elevates everyone else around him. Like his work in Mad Max: Fury Road, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, and Warrior. Though I don’t think he will win the Oscar, in my mind, he deserves to win.
I definitely recommend seeing this film. Even for those movie-goers who don’t like visual artistry, they will enjoy this one. It is easy to follow along and understand the film’s depictions on both a literal and metaphorical sense. This is DiCaprio’s best work since The Aviator and Iñárritu’s best work. This movie does live up the hype! This is a must see!
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.
If you liked this film, I recommend:
There Will Be Blood
Dances with Wolves