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MOVIE REVIEW: The Revenant

If Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t finally get an Oscar for this movie…

Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT captures one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his fellow trapper John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in his relentless pursuit to live and find revenge.

The movie is a blatant bid for an Oscar–a well deserved and long time coming Oscar for Leo.  No matter how many times he’s nominated, DiCaprio gets snubbed at the Oscars over and over again: three for best actor (The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Wolf of Wall Street), one for best supporting actor (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?), and one for best picture as a producer (Wolf of Wall Street). Leonardo had to devour a raw slab of bison’s liver, even though he is vegetarian–talk about getting and staying in character. He also had to learn to shoot a musket, build a fire, speak two Native American languages (Pawnee and Arikara), and study with a doctor who specializes in ancient healing techniques. Tom Hardy’s role as antagonist John Fitzgerald is a mirror to Leo’s grit and determination.

Both director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki collaborated to make this one of the most beautifully shot movies that I have ever seen. The cold, bleak, and desolate vistas abound in this movie. The shot at the beginning of the movie depicting the tribal attack on the fur trappers was simply breathtaking and astounding.

The thing that took this movie over the top and beyond wasn’t the marvelous acting or the flawless cinematography, but THE BEAR.revenant-bear-goes-too-farThe snippets of the bear attack that they show in the trailer do no justice to the extreme savagery and brutality shown in that scene. DiCaprio had this to say about it:

“Alejandro watched over 100 different bear attacks,” DiCaprio, joined by Iñárritu, did offer. “What he creates in that sequence is almost like virtual reality. It awakes the senses. I think that sequence will go down in the history of cinema as an amazing visceral, tactile sequence that makes people feel like they were there. It was incredibly difficult to do.”

The movie runs 2 hours and 36 minutes, so it’s as much a test of endurance for the audience as it was for the cast and crew. There’s plenty of action, but there are also long stretches of watching Leo crawling and surviving. There’s a subplot involving a kidnapped Native American princess that comes into play with the main story, but the overall narrative got a bit unfocused and dragged at parts. Despite this, it’s a movie that I can’t recommend enough.

I give it 4 bear pelts out of 5 .

THE REVENANT is Rated R for strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity

About DJ Mad Manny (262 Articles)
"Man. Myth. Legend. Ladies Man." There are many words that can be used to describe Manny...unfortunately, none of those apply. "DJ, Cat Lover, Man-Child, Wookie" will have to do.
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