A tree. A cloud. A tree. A cloud. Leo DiCaprio moaning.
Leo moaning in the distance
This is basically 1/3 of The Revenant. The other 2/3 consists of DiCaprio crawling around in a video gamey kind of way (Leo found fur! Leo found a dead bison! Leo found a friendly native! Leo found a cave! Cauterize a wound + 10exp. Eat some grass + 5exp. Crawl inside a dead horse + 1000exp), shoehorned plot about missing native girl and Hardy scenes which unlike the above actually have some energy to them.
And lots and lots of trees.
All these talented people involved in this film act like they have had suffered a blow to the head and forgot their craft. Inarittu always made interesting, well made movies (except for Biutiful which was loaded with pretentious imagery but, fuck me, was it nowhere near the levels of pretentious Inarittu reached in The Revenant) - with this one it is like he forgot there is such a thing as editing. I mean you could have easily take out a whole bunch of shots of trees and rivers or people just walking around (it's like The Hobbit sometimes, I'm serious) and the film would be so much better. Lubezki is another person who straight up embarrasses himself with shots of breath on the lenses, used as often as possible. A cheap gimmick that takes you right out of the movie, if DiCaprio's laughable moans haven't done so already. They are all just showing off.
Then we have the writing. The writer makes the common mistake of assuming that just because bad shit happened to Glass we will automatically find his quest for revenge interesting. No, not really. In fact who cares? Instead of establishing his connections with the wife and the son we got ridiculous slow mo shots of them standing around, staring - either at each other or, yes, you guessed it, the trees, which are apparently super crucial. I don't care this guy's wife is dead. I don't care that his son was killed. I cared far more about poor motherless bear cubs.
Ah yes, the bear attack. While the bear attack is horrific and every time the bear comes back for more you just want it to be over, it is not overtly long or bloody. It is however impressively done - the bear is CGI, so realistic that people responsible for its creation called it Judy. So let's emphasize that - the bear was not actually there. Yet DiCaprio's acting made the attack feel so convincing - he shows such pain, hurt and desperation, never mind the physical challenge of imitating something like that happening.When it comes to the craft DiCaprio gives it his all but his character is so poorly written the entire time you just think of DiCaprio acting, not the character suffering. Bridger's flask has more personality than Hugh Glass does.
Will Poulter is excellent as young Bridger, who is shell shocked after
what happened but at the same time afraid of Fitzgerald. Domhnall
Gleeson is very subtle but tremendously effective as what feels like
Glass' only ally. It's about 100th performance Gleeson gave in
2015 and it is definitely my favorite one. It's worth noting both those
characters and performances are much better than Glass and Leo.
Meanwhile, Hardy steals the show. I've seen some people complaining how his accent is difficult to understand, how he mumbles and how he hams it up. I am either gifted with super hearing or I simply listen to Hardy with my heart because I understood every word. Hardy plays a character that has been driven half mad by his circumstances and upbringing and he does so with such an energy that had it not been for his scenes this film would be close to being unwatchable.
This is the role that suited him very well. He has this air of danger around him and this spark in the eye that makes it impossible to predict what he does in the next moment. It also helps that he always looks physically imposing and whenever his character fights someone, well, there isn't much of a fight. Whenever he has a gun on someone you never know if he shoots, in fact it's actually surprising when he doesn't. What I also adored about this performance is that Hardy didn't play it completely straight - in fact he added lots of humor here and that reminded me of his hugely entertaining work in Peaky Blinders. Hardy is given several scenes where his character tells insane stories and it's such a great counterweight to all those scenes with Glass that are basically silent and you kinda feel like looking at anemic dog shit during those.
Hardy's best scene is when he removes his bandanna and we see his partially scalped head and as he sits and talks of that happening, his blazing eyes fixed on one point madly and then he turns to Bridger and tells him to stop scratching the flask (the sound reminds him of knife on his scalp) is one of my favorite scenes Hardy has ever done. He is magnificent. But he ain't Del Toro in Sicario.
What I really liked and what genuinely surprised me was the ambiguity in the film. I was under impression that Fitzgerald will just start killing Glass but they had this whole 'blink if you want me to kill you' conversation. It was a sadistic conversation for Fitzgerald to even start and I have no doubt that Glass's blink was due to exhaustion but he indeed blinked. It's no wonder that half-mad, obsessed and paranoid Fitzgerald thought he did nothing wrong.
The level of ambiguity poured into Fitzgerald is so impressive because everything else in this script is either half-assed or just dumb. The stupidity begins with the captain not killing Glass once he determined Glass won't make it and leaving him with the guy who was so against him, it then follows through with natives ex machina which is just one tribe of natives that shows up whenever the plot requires them to (when they popped up in the ending I just laughed) and finally it has some of the most black and white antagonists and protagonists in recent memory - the Canadians who should just sue and Glass who is just an angel personified - and it culminates with the entire fort sitting on their asses while the commander and the guy who just crawled back through the forest go after Fitzgerald alone. What is this shit?
And what was with that dream about church in ruins? I swear to God the amount of retarded, pretentious imagery in this movie that serves absolutely nothing but only making it more boring is just startling. There is some Christ imagery thrown in too because 1. why the fuck not 2. I suppose they featured it on account that Leo looks like Mel Gibson's Jesus at certain points in this movie. I would have gladly watched The Passion of The Christ several times in the row instead of this one just once.
Oh my God. And when that native built Leo a fucking luxurious spa/sweat lodge in the middle of nowhere DURING BLIZZARD I almost pissed myself laughing.
I think Inarittu, DiCaprio and the writers massively trolled people. They must have known that what they are putting in this movie is so awful and it's all a clear vehicle for Leo to finally got that Oscar. I imagine they are laughing so hard when they read the interpretations about how deep that movie is, how well it shows how oppressed Native Americans were, what a beautiful love Glass has for his son. I cannot believe how much people manage to project onto that movie. None of it is there.
Look I suppose we should admire these people for devoting 9 months of their lives to shoot this....thing. I mean poor DiCaprio, right? A vegetarian and he had to eat bison liver. Jesus, how awful. I'm sure that he is still traumatized about it and all those parties and money and supermodels are not helping. Oh poor crew. So cold. No wi-fi. And Inarittu! Bravely ducking all those (alleged) dick punches from Hardy. Man, if only they were on that set because they chose to and were paid to...which is exactly what happened.
There are good things here - the score, even though way too calm which only adds to slow pace. The performances. The individual set pieces like the opening attack sequence or the insanely brutal final confrontation. There are bits and pieces here that are brilliant but they are stitched together more clumsily than Glass's wounds.
Let me be very clear here - the trailer is so much better than the actual movie. I am not sure if getting hit in the face repeatedly is not better than this movie, considering that my ass and head actually still hurt after 3h of sitting and listening to DiCaprio's growling his way to that Oscar.
Imagine the crawl on the stairs scene from The Wolf of Wall Street except not awesome, not funny, not instantly iconic and set in a forest with a bunch of fucking trees around. That's The Revenant.
(The Revenant, 2015, 156 min)
Plot: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writers: Mark L. Smith (screenplay), Alejandro González Iñárritu (screenplay), Michael Punke (based in part on the novel by)
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter