Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

The Revenant (2015)

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

Starring Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Poulter


As intense and you can get and beautifully shot, but there’s not a whole lot of story. DiCaprio bleeds for two and half hours and vows revenge. There’s not much else to it.

Beautifully composed shots of majestic mountains, big skies, and flowing water give the movie a contemplative feel like a Terrence Malick or Ron Fricke film. But it all really slows the movie down. The story doesn’t have a lot of momentum to begin with, and pausing to observe icicles on a frozen bush nearly brings things to a halt. The last shot, with Glass breaking the fourth wall, was nice.

DiCaprio is good. It’ll be hard not to give him the Oscar after portraying so much suffering. But Hardy matches him note for note. Gleeson’s for real. Poulter’s first real performance as an adult.

Based on a true story, but it seems some fictional liberties were taken, especially around three of the film’s most important plot points. Glass never had a son. Glass managed to kill the bear with help from his trapping partners, Fitzgerald and Bridger. And in the end, Glass reportedly spared Fitzgerald’s life. A title card at the end explaining that Glass was killed in an attack by the Arikara Indians would have been particularly powerful. Turns out the real Glass seems to have looked a lot more like, surprise, Daniel Day-Lewis.

The film will have a lot of momentum going into the Oscars but will be quickly forgotten, kept in the public mind by inevitable memes on DiCaprio’s suffering.

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