Classic Review: The Revenant (2015)

Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “The Revenant” which originally appeared here.

While exploring the uncharted wilderness assisting a hunting team in search of wolf pelts in the 1800s, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home to his beloved family. Grief-stricken and fueled by vengeance after the murder of his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), Glass treks through the wintry terrain to track down John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the former confidant who betrayed him, murdered his son, and abandoned him.

So this is the last big award contender that I have yet to see but now I can understand why. A big thing I liked about this film was that it served as a two and a half hour Canadian tourism commercial. It was primarily shot in Alberta and British Columbia, containing all the beautiful locales these provinces had to offer. They featured a lot of forests, mountains, and endless fields shot in natural light giving the film a clean, more realistic look. This film was definitely a feast for the eyes. You’ll leave wondering how they did it. For those who are unaware of the story, when master frontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) incurs grave injuries from a bear attack, he is left for dead by the team he was assisting. Struck with grief and vengeance after the murder of his son Hawk (Goodluck) by his former confidant John Fitzgerald (Hardy), Glass must harness his survival skills in to find a way to return back home and get his revenge. I definitely have never seen DiCaprio like this before. He was very restrained in this performance, going through long stretches of time without ever having any dialogue, using primarily his actions and facial expressions to convey the emotion of the scene. This was vital as the film portrayed him often being alone, attempting to survive in the wilderness. The film did not shy away from this aspect as it went all in showing Glass and others doing what they had to do to survive and that would sometimes entail things that may make some feel squeamish (but not me) but in order to continue being realistic, was necessary. The realism also continued when it came to the depiction of Glass’ injuries post bear attack as they are an amazing display of makeup. The film made this captivating to watch based on the cinematography (which I already mentioned), the music, and DiCaprio’s performance which I couldn’t help but to root for him, hoping he would survive. Despite his son having been murdered, this film is more a story of survival than a story about vengeance. This vengeance served as prime motivation for his survival and you could see it from DiCaprio’s performance. Hardy was also great here, despite being a little over-the-top, serving as a formidable foil for Dicaprio’s Glass. The only problem I had with the film was that despite trying to be realistic, there were a few instances of blatantly obvious CGI which took me out of the experience within scenes that featured I assume were intended to be big moments. Like I mentioned before, this film has been nominated for a multitude of awards and after watching it, I am sure it will win a few. I am personally rooting for DiCaprio as this film features my personal favorite role of his. Overall, this film is a beautiful survival story led by another career-defining performance by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Score: 9.5/10

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