The Revenant – The Most Beautiful Film That I Will Never Watch Again
Review by Jen Rush – 5/5 buckets of popcorn
The Revenant is a film that you will not forget. I was left completely awe-struck by the entire experience; so much so that I have no need or desire to ever see it a second time. It follows the true events of legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is mauled in a bear attack and left for dead by his crew members John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter). Glass must survive the elements, the rival pelt traders and the aboriginal tribes jaded by the European influence.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman), we see the events as the characters see them, not from a bird’s eye view. The perspective is consistent with the story that has absolutely no dramatic irony. In other words, the audience is as surprised by the events as the characters are. Iñárritu uses the natural and ever-changing scenery to beautifully enhance the emotional aspects of the film. He shows the majestic landscape (partly filmed in Kananaskis Country, Alberta) in stunning views and uses imagery of it to symbolize character state. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, Gravity) is nothing short of stunning. Filmed using only natural light, every scene was breathtaking and perfect.
As much as it is a beautifully crafted movie, it is also very jarring, graphic and grisly. The bear attack felt uncomfortably real. Intense amounts of violence and gore juxtapose the beauty of the film consistently. In my screening, four people walked out due to the graphic nature of the movie.
The entire experience is rife with more emotions than I care to endure during the course of a movie. Both of the main actors (DiCaprio and Hardy), took on some of the least attractive roles imaginable and dove into them head first. I never thought I could imagine a scenario where Tom Hardy could be so unappealing in every sense. He played the role of Fitzgerald so perfectly that I hated him but completely understood him. I can only hope that this will be Leonardo’s year at the Oscars after this performance. Learning two aboriginal dialects, dragging himself through the snow and showing us more pain in his eyes than I thought possible, he proved to be spectacular as Hugh Glass.
As the movie ended and the house lights came up, everyone that remained in the theater was utterly silent. Never have I seen so many people left completely speechless by a film, myself included. The Revenant is not for everyone (especially not for the faint-of-stomach) but I will remain in awe of its beauty and stunned by its harsh reality.