At a crucial point in The Revenant, the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio slices open a newly dead horse, empties it of its bloody entrails, and curls up for warmth inside its carcass, gripping the flesh tightly around him. It’s a rare moment of respite in Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s relentlessly brutal saga of survival and revenge.

DiCaprio suffers for his art in Iñárritu’s film, which chronicles the unimaginable ordeal of real-life fur trapper Hugh Glass, who was savagely mauled by a bear and left for dead by his men in the frozen wilderness of 1823 America.

Although it’s the result of some terrific digital trickery, that grueling 5-minute bear attack scene – all blood and claws and drool – could alone turn away the weak hearted. And that’s even before you see Glass being buried in the earth while still alive, setting his throat on fire to prevent infection, chomping on raw bison liver, and riding off the edge of a cliff.

Miraculously, Glass survives all of it, and he somehow makes the journey through the punishing landscape, dragging his battered body through snow, across rivers, up rocks and mountains, driven by revenge. In his sights is Fitzgerald (a deliciously menacing Tom Hardy), the man responsible for abandoning him to die and for forcing him to watch as his young son is murdered in front of his eyes.

Like they did with Birdman, Iñárritu and his trusted cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki employ long, unbroken takes to great effect, particularly in the film’s visceral action scenes, which feel urgent and immersive as a result. Lubezki, who shot the film only in natural light, captures both the beauty and the treacherous nature of the expansive wilderness, which is as much a character in the film as the cast.

Yet despite its strengths, The Revenant never feels like much more than a simple revenge drama. It’s evident that Iñárritu is striving to communicate bigger ideas, but his exploration of such themes as spirituality, man’s relationship with nature, and empathy for Native Americans is surface-level at best.

At a running time of 2 hours and 36 minutes, the film feels too long and often repetitive. It’s visually and emotionally unrelenting, and requires that you come armed with patience – a lot of it. In many ways, the best thing about The Revenant is DiCaprio and his unwavering commitment to the material. It’s a largely wordless performance, and yet the 41-year-old star, buried under a mound of facial hair and furs, succeeds in conveying the character’s anguish and determination through the powerful emotions in his eyes, and the grunts and groans as he pushes his body to breaking point. It’s exactly the kind of performance that the Academy loves, so it’s hardly any surprise that he’s the frontrunner for Best Actor this year.

I’m going with three out of five for The Revenant. Iñárritu’s muscular filmmaking must be applauded, even if the film itself is as exhausting as it is thrilling.

Did you like this blog?*
How did you find this blog?*
What kind of articles would you like to read on the blog?*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Rajeev Masand

  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Omerta

    Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Keval Arora, Rajesh Tailang, Blake Allan Director: Hansal Mehta In his new film Omerta, director Hansal Mehta seeks to dive into...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of 102 Not Out

    Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Jimit Trivedi Director: Umesh Shukla Let’s just face it Hindi cinema doesn’t know what to do with senior...

    BMS EditorMay 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Review of Avengers: Infinity War

    Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe...

    BMS EditorApril 26, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Beyond The Clouds

    Cast: Ishaan Khattar, Malavika Mohanan, Goutam Ghose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, GV Sharada, Amruta Santosh Thakur, Shivam Pujari Director: Majid Majidi Iranian master Majid Majidi,...

    BMS EditorApril 21, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of October

    Cast: Varun Dhawan, Banita Sandhu, Gitanjali Rao Director: Shoojit Sircar October, directed by Shoojit Sircar, is a thoughtful, meditative film about...

    BMS EditorApril 13, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Blackmail

    Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anjula Sathe, Gajraj Rao, Omi Vaidya, Vibha Chibbar, Neelima Azim Director: Abhinay...

    BMS EditorApril 6, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review of Baaghi 2

    Cast: Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda, Deepak Dobriyal, Prateik Babbar, Darshan Kumaar, Vipin Sharma Director: Ahmed Khan. A distraught young...

    BMS EditorApril 5, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Pacific Rim Uprising

    Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman Director: Steven S DeKnight I’m one of those who thoroughly...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018
  • Rajeev Masand’s Film Review Of Hichki

    Cast: Rani Mukerji, Neeraj Kabi, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Harsh Mayar Director: Siddharth P Malhotra There is nothing original, nothing surprising, nothing even...

    BMS EditorMarch 24, 2018

All articles/blogs are intended to inform, entertain and amuse. We make no representations or guarantees about the truth, accuracy or quality of any content.

Copyright 2018 © Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news!
Thank You For Subscribing To Us!

Now get regular updates on the latest entertainment news and style trends.

Providing you with the best of Bollywood, Hollywood, style and more.
Get the best in entertainment, while keeping yourself entertained!
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
WordPress Popup