Hello, fellow moviegoers!
I’ve started to notice that the month of January is a bit of a spill-over when it comes to movies. Oscar nominations are getting announced, and people are really going out of their way to see some of the best films of the previous year. Partially because January is known for bringing terrible films with it. Some studios are starting to capitalize on this by releasing their films limitedly at the end of December so they qualify for the Oscars. Then they release it widely for everybody to see in January, so they can mop up the audiences money from the lack of good films. There have been several films that have used this technique this year, particularly Joy, The Hateful Eight, and the latest to be released The Revenant.
The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. It is the true story of Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) who is mauled by a bear and left for dead by a fellow frontiersman, his son’s murderer, John Fitzgerald. This film focuses on Glass’s rigorous journey back to society to seek revenge upon Fitzgerald. This film is directed by the Alejandro González Iñárritu. You may recognize his name as he directed Best Picture winner and my favorite film of 2014, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). So does this film live up to the reputation of Birdman? Here are my thoughts.
To compare The Revenant to Birdman is to compare apples to oranges. They are two completely different films. The only common factor here is the director and the great performances by the actors. The Revenant is one of the best films of the year.
The acting in this film is what everybody is going to be talking about come time for the Oscars. Leonardo DiCaprio gives an utterly fantastic performance, as usual. He actually won the Golden Globe for Best Lead Actor in a Drama last night. His performance is made even more impressive when you stop to consider the amount of dialogue he is given, which is almost none. He delivers one of the best performances of the year simply with his facial expressions and body language. Tom Hardy is just as great as Leo is. Hardy is one of those actors that is in a bajillion films a year, and he is so different in each one. Throughout the entire film, I didn’t even see Tom Hardy. I saw his character. Hardy was brilliant in this film, arguably equal to, if not better than DiCaprio.
While the performances in this film were amazing, they are not what everybody was talking about when leaving the theater. No, people were talking about the brutality of it. All of the action scenes in this movie were brilliantly crafted, made even better by usually done in one shot (which Iñárritu is famous for). The scene in which Glass is mauled by the bear is perhaps one of the best singular scenes in recent memory. “Brutal” may be the best word to describe this film as a whole.
The film was a little too long. Sitting at just over two and a half hours, try not to drink too much soda, because you won’t make it through the whole thing without a bathroom break. Although, I’m not sure if you’d miss much. The film has a very slow pace, and a decent amount of it is Leonardo DiCaprio sitting around a fire.
The cinematography is also worth noting. There are so many beautiful shots throughout the whole film. The entire film was shot using exclusively natural light. There was no artificial lighting. Just the sun, the moon, campfires, etc. The natural lighting made the film significantly more realistic.
The music in the film was used very well, specifically, because there wasn’t much of it. It’s as if Iñárritu and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto wanted to use the sounds of nature as the soundtrack, instead of a score. The musical theme is used sparingly, and it’s very powerful when used.
Overall, The Revenant is a beautifully shot, masterfully directed, and brilliantly acted film. It's a completely different film than Birdman, which is a testament to the skill of Iñárritu! It’s going to get nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. Now, it’s just a question of whether or not Iñárritu can walk home with a trophy two years in a row. It did win Best Drama at the Golden Globes last night.
So what did you think of The Revenant? Will Leonardo DiCaprio win his first Oscar for this film? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So check back later this week for my review of Joy and my reaction to the Oscar nominations that will be announced on Thursday!
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