I find it weird saying I enjoyed a film like The Revenant. When all it is is 2 and a half hours of watching Di Caprio’s character Hugh Glass go through some of the worst torture imaginable. But there’s something very human about the efforts he goes through in order to survive, as a kind of ‘Glass Vs. Natural Selection’ movie. It certainly reaffirmed to me that there isn’t a lot I nor anyone else wouldn’t do in order to hold onto life.
The performances throughout the film were all top notch, and I found it surprising that I remember people saying it was Di Caprio’s least Oscar deserving performance. Maybe it was the fact that he was flanked by equally outstanding performances from Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson. But just because he didn’t steal the show doesn’t make the performance any less Oscar worthy. Every ounce of pain, anger and desperation is conveyed excellently and at no point did I find myself questing what was shown on screen as illegitimate. To suspend my disbelief is all I can ask for from the cast, and they did so well.
What also caught my eye was the action set pieces, of which there are many, that are shot in a particular way that it stood out from the dozens of action films I have seen before The Revenant. The scenes don rely on shaky cam footage, hyper-cutting from shot to shot in order to crank up the intensity. Rather the camera moves calmly and intimately around the action. Moving in and out of trees, to and from characters going through hell on earth showing every detail possible. Highlighting the monstrosity of human nature so we can see exactly what is going on rather than having to guess because the film refuses to show us explicitly. I found this a breathe of fresh air and I can only compliment the director cinematographer for making a choice that I found to work far better in making an impact.
If there was anything I’d nit-pick about it would be the run-time, which I hear is a common complaint among critics. I found that in between dialogue and action were a lot of, although very pretty, ultimately pointless shots that made Act 2 seem to go very slow. Maybe if these shots were cut it would take away from the scenes where things are actually happening and turn the film back into every other thriller you’ve ever seen but without seeing that cut of the film I cannot make judgement. So I can’t really knock the film too hard because of it.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it already. But I would give it a miss if you aren’t good with gore, blood or violence. Cause there it’s in this film in abundance.
[other 9.1’s include 50/50 (2011) and Whiplash (2014)]