Friday, January 8, 2016

Movie Review: The Revenant


Will this finally be Leonardo DiCaprio's year to win an Oscar? If his performance in The Revenant is any indication, it might just be. The definition of a "revenant," in fact, is "a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead," which defines both Leo's character in this film and perhaps his Academy Award status, though he's up against a great group of actors this year for Best Actor.

Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is traveling with a group of men who is being paid to bring back pelts. Glass is not the captain of the group, but he knows the terrain best, and he's also traveling with his Pawnee son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck). After Glass is mauled by a bear, and it looks like he will die, the captain (Domhnall Gleeson) decides that a few men will stay with Glass to take care of him and make his last days comfortable; these men will be paid extra for their troubles, and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Bridger (Will Poulter) volunteer for the job. Fitzgerald convinces Bridger to soon leave to catch up with the group, even though Glass isn't yet dead, and that's where this story essentially starts; Glass eventually gets better, and soon is on the hunt for Fitzgerald for leaving him for dead, among other reasons.

I want to say the two best performances in this film were from DiCaprio and Hardy, but even though they may have the most screen time, everyone turns in fantastic performances here. Domhnall Gleeson (About Time) and Will Poulter (The Maze Runner) were both great, and so was Goodluck as Hawk, DiCaprio's half-Pawnee son, whose mother was killed a while back. The scenery plays a secondary character as well, almost, and the cinematography here is beautiful: snow-strewn landscapes with tall trees and long sunsets.

Yes, see this movie. Be aware that it's very bloody and a bit graphic - more so than I thought it would be, beforehand - so if you can't handle a bit of blood and gore, you might want to avoid this film or perhaps wait to rent it. I'd also recommend seeing it in a theater that has a wide screen and surround sound; my screening was at the MJR Troy in my area, which is one of the newer theaters, and the screen and sound were fantastic. This film definitely reminded me of The Grey, with Liam Neeson, although in that case it was Liam vs. a wolf, and in this movie was Leo vs. a bear, when Leo gets injured. The Revenant is the first movie I saw in the theater this year, and it definitely sets a high bar for the rest of the films I see this year; one that most movies probably won't be able to meet or surpass.

The Revenant is in theaters today, January 8th, and is rated R with a runtime of 156 minutes. 4.5 stars out of 5.

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