The Revenant (2015) Review

Spectacular cinematography, directing and acting… Things are about to get Grizzly.

Available on Netflix? Yes

The Revenant was one of the best films of last year, It was a technical masterpiece and I will honestly say that the cinematography of the film was top 3 best cinematographies i’ve ever seen in my 24 years of life. It was nominated for 12 Oscars, 12! Thats a whole lot of accolades, some very much deserved, some I was a little confused about but lets review this adventure!

The Revenant was directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, Inarritu always makes very interesting films, I can honestly say, and happily I have seen all of his films, and I’ve only disliked one of them. His directing filmography consists of Amores Perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010), Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignornance) (2014) – Birdman was the only film of his I didn’t particularly like much, I didn’t see why it deserved to win the Oscar for best picture, But technically and how it was a shot, was mind blowing. Inarritu took much of the technique he applied to Birdman and used it very much to his advantage for The Revenant. The directing and really how this movie was made is absolutely mind boggling to me.

The film is about a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s that fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. When I first heard about this movie, I wasn’t super into it, it sounded a little campy to me, Oh a bear fight? that could look really weird, I was intrigued because being a fan of Inarritu despite Birdman, and Leonardo DiCaprio is always brilliant to watch, but I can say I honestly wasn’t super into it, I’m happy to say that after watching it for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised and my previous thoughts about it, turned into greatness.

This is one of those movies that you watch, and get lost in. The way in which its directed and made, as I previously stated is mind boggling to me. There are some really long takes that are used in this movie, and its just so masterfully filmed and constructed. Inarritu definitely earned his second back-to-back Oscar for best directing.

My favourite scene in the movie, actually takes place in the beginning. It doesn’t ruin anything, so I don’t feel like a spoiler warning should be in effect. But theres a scene in the beginning of the movie, where theres a fade in and we are on this little water brook. Slowly we are moving along the brook, and then the title card pops up, and right after the camera slowly moves up and we see this hunter in the woods, the camera slowly pans over to the right and we get the first glimpse of our “hero” Hugh Glass – Leonardo DiCaprio, the camera pans over to his son, then slowly pans back as Glass sees a dear in the background, the camera pans over again to the other hunters and then we’re back looking at Leo with his weapon drawn, after the shot, the camera cuts and we are in the frontiersman camp. I thought this set the pace for the film really well, Audiences who realize the technical aspects know that this film is going to be something special. But where my mind was absolutely blown, was in the scene right after. The frontiersman camp was attacked by Indians, without a cut in the camera. So the attack happened, and every time something happened, the camera would pan to see the point of view. So if the frontiersman had the upper hand, the camera would be looking at them, if the frontiersman died, the camera would follow the Indian who killed him until he was killed. It was a tug of war of sorts for camera control, and that was there I was hooked, even if I ended up not liking the story as much, the camera technique and how this movie was filmed was AMAZING. But I actually did really like the story.

The acting in this movie I thought was top notch as well. As I previously said, the main character in the film, Hugh Glass, is played by the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio, in a role that finally won him his first Oscar. For those who have been living under a rock for a couple of years, DiCaprio’s filmography includes such films as – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Titanic (1997), The Beach (2000), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Blood Diamond (2006), Shutter Island (2010), Inception (2010), Django Unchained (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Needless to say he’s a master of his craft and his oscar win was long overdue. I thought that DiCaprio was unbelievably good in this movie, there were times that I legitimately forgot I was watching an actor and I thought I was watching a man trying to survive in the wilderness. Tom Hardy is also in this film, who is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors. His filmography includes such films as Black Hawk Down (2001), Layer Cake (2004), RockNRolla (2008), Bronson (2008), Inception (2010), Warrior (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Locke (2013), The Drop (2014), and his magnum opus and the best film of 2015 – Mad Max: Fury Road. For those who know me, you expected this, and for those who don’t know me…stay tuned. *hint hint* I thought that Tom Hardy was phenomenal in this movie as well, there were times I loved him, there were times I hated him, and that takes a lot. He was just so good. The acting in this movie from everybody was just superb, they really got into the era and mind of the characters, I was super impressed by the acting.

The cinematography alone, is worth sitting through the 2 and a half hour movie. The cinematography made me want to go explore Calgary and British Columbia and see these areas in the woods, I wanted to look off a cliff and see the scenery that was presented on screen. I was completely blown away, and I was just so taken back by how beautiful the scenery is. As I previously said, I thought that this was top 3 best cinematography experiences I’ve ever had in my 24 years of life. I actually based buying the blu ray on the day of release based off the cinematography, I needed to see it for what it is, and whenever I upgrade to 4K, this will have to be bought again because seeing this in 4K, I can’t even imagine how beautiful it is.

The soundtrack DESERVES to be talked about. As you can tell if you’ve read my other reviews, I’m a big fan of soundtracks. The Revenant holds with it a very haunting soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto. I actually stopped my podcast to listen to the soundtrack just now, thats how powerful it is. Every little element of the music fits so well with the movie, I’ll hear the main theme, and be taken back to different parts throughout the movie and I can perfectly imagine them in my head, and I can perfectly picture the scenery around me. If I was ever to see one of these filming locations in real life, I would hope that the music would pop into my head right away or I had a pair of headphones to turn on the soundtrack and just escape into the scenery.

My only Negative about the movie was that the story was really drawn out, like I can understand in ways why they wanted the film to be 2 and a half hours, but I feel like the story could have been told in 2 hours maybe 2 hours and 15 minutes, and still held a very similar effect. There were parts where I did get bored, but the movie was saved by the brilliant acting, directing, cinematography and soundtrack. The writing of the script was also alright, It didn’t do too much and left a bit to be uncovered, but with the brilliant acting that Inarritu had at his disposal, the film was in very capable hands.

The Revenant, I have seen 5 times since it was released, and I can say confidently…

My final review is 4/5.

This is a film you need to sit through the grizzly (See what i did there?) violence to see the real beauty.

Until Next Time!


**Huge shoutout to Sara, , who allowed me to collaborate on her post, I said I would write a couple reviews for this list. Hopefully this is what she imagined.

Stay tuned for the list we came up with for the 50 films that make you want to travel, its a work in progress, but we should be done soon!


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