Leonardo DiOSCARO. Yeah that’s all I got for my “Leonardo DiCaprio Oscar jokes”.
The Revenant is probably the most brutally epic Western film done in AGES, and that’s saying something when The Hateful Eight came out a few weeks prior. Yes, The Hateful Eight is awesome, but that was more of a spaghetti western murder-mystery type of story in a quirky way via Quentin Tarantino. Everything in this movie was AWESOME, from the acting done by everyone especially DiCaprio, the top-notch camerawork and cinematography, the epic and compelling story, and an epic music score. This was the perfect movie for me to end 2015 on (though it had a limited release in 2015 and a wider release in 2016, and yeah I got only a few more 2015 movies to review before finally moving on to my 2016 movie reviews).
Like with a couple of other “based on true story” movies I reviewed, I don’t know exactly how “true” it is to the story of Hugh Glass and who or what he was at that time. Not saying I don’t look up stuff, it’s just that when I’m doing a review of something that’s based on and/or inspired by true events, it’s kind of difficult for me to comment on the accuracy of said events depicted in the medium. That being said, I’m just going to talk about the movie itself, its quality, and my overall opinion on it. And yes I do know that this movie is based on a book about Hugh Glass that was released in 2002, so in addition to that I haven’t read the book I don’t know how faithful it is to that either. Again, judging the movie on its own merits here.
From what I did look up though, this was a movie that was in development for LONG time, way back since 2001. Director Alejandro G. Inarritu was brought on board in 2011 and once he finished Birdman (my favorite film of 2014 btw), he got to work on The Revenant. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine, yet also makes sense at the same time, for both movies to not only be made by the same guy, but also come out back-to-back within the span of a year. Sure, it happens a lot with other movies and the people who make em, but still. Strangely enough, I couldn’t help but find similarities between the two movies, in regards to the camerawork and surrealism. Whereas Birdman was filmed like one big tracking shot at times, or maybe just the whole time, The Revenant had several tracking shots, but also things to cut away to as well as establishing shots in order to capture that epic feel and of course show off beautiful scenery.
This movie is an epic tale of revenge and survival all set in the backdrop of the American Midwest of the early 1800s. It is not a depicted as a time of great pioneers and their legendary travels, but rather a visceral tale in which a man goes through all kinds of Hell just to get revenge on someone who abandoned him for dead and killed his son. And yes, he does do a lot of grunting throughout all this, so I guess that’s really all Leo had to do to win an Oscar? All kidding aside, this is a LONG movie to sit through, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring (although there are A LOT of shots showing nothing but scenery, I mean I get it it looks beautiful but can we, ya know, move along with what this movie is supposed to be about?). This is definitely a worthwhile movie to watch, an epic tale for the ages.
Leonardo DiCaprio is nothing short of phenomenal in this movie. His character, Hugh Glass, a renowned adventurer, is a man of solace and grim determination, and is stern yet kind and loving to his son. He’s the kind of guy that you want on any kind of exploration and to watch your back, but don’t cross him under any circumstances because he will go through Hell and back just to get payback. He gets cut, stabbed, shot, falls off cliffs, goes inside a horse’s corpse to stay warm, survives a friggin bear attack (and possibly “fun times” with the bear, if you catch my drift, though from what I looked up the bear was female, so since it got killed anyway there’s no point in calling her back), and whatever else this movie throws at him. The guy is practically invincible. Oh and of course he sometimes hallucinates about his dead wife and past events in his life, just to add more to the psychological fuckery he has to go through just to get revenge. The supporting cast of Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, and everyone else are great too, adding more to the story and the kind of individuals that Glass is associated with and how they contribute to his quest. Tom Hardy plays John Fitzgerald, a cowardly and greedy man who abandons Glass for dead and kills his son, all just to save his own skin as well to collect his money for the pelts that are being transported, and dupes Jim Bridger (played by Will Poulter) in going along with his scheme and becoming a victim of this as a result and doesn’t deserve the blame as Fitzgerald does. Andrew Henry (played by Domnhall Gleeson) is a commander trying to get his men to survive the mess they’re in, and is often faced with difficult decisions that would make his morality ambiguous, but sticks to what he feels is right to do and doesn’t compromise, even though it kinda contributes to his eventual fate near the end.
I really don’t know what more I can say about this movie than what others have said about it as well as what I’ve already said in my own review here. I know this is a while after the movie came out, but if I’m being honest, this is one of the finest films of 2015, so it deserves all the praise it gets and will continue to get for times to come. It does do weird things, but it is something enjoyable and profound to sit through. If not for a certain other movie (that I will get to in a future review soon) that came out in 2015, this would be the best film of 2015, in my opinion. It sometimes blurs the line between being grounded in reality and over-the-top crazy and surreal, but it is epic and awesome because of that. At least now all the jokes about Leo not getting his Oscar can stop and make way for jokes about Leo actually getting his Oscar now…