The weekend is here, so thanks to FatCats Gilbert and their awesome movie theater, it’s time for another movie review!
Unfortunately, there aren’t many big new releases this weekend, so let’s talk about one that was a very limited release until this weekend called The Revenant. I have been so excited for this movie for such a long time. It stars two of my favorite working actors and is directed by the defending winner of the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture, Alejandro González Iñárritu, who directed the spectacular Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which was my favorite movie of 2014 and an absolute spectacle and revelation of a film. Birdman was actually the first of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s films I had seen, but I loved it so much that I want back and checked out his other films such as 21 Grams and Babel, and both were very good movies! Leonardo DiCaprio is also my favorite working actor, and I think he only gets better with every movie despite how good he already is. He always seems to be better perfecting his art, and he is someone I look up to as a young film fan. Oscar or not, he is really one of the best actors in Hollywood. I also believe that Tom Hardy is one of the best actors today. Sure he has the signature grunt he does in just about every movie, but he really inhabits a character so well, and I think 2015 has been his breakthrough year. The last time these two actors, who are very good friends in real life, came together, they made one of my personal favorite movies of all time, Christopher Nolan’s Inception. The trailers looked incredible, and The Revenant picked up so much Oscar buzz. It was easily one of my most anticipated films of the year, and I couldn’t wait until I finally got to check it out!
The Revenant is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhall Gleeson, and Will Poulter. A team of frontiersmen on a fur trading expedition are surrounded and attacked by Native Americans looking for their chief’s daughter. Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is the navigator and expert tracker, and he helps take the team to safety. When Glass gets separated from the rest of his team, he is viciously mauled by a brown bear. His body is broken, and when his team finds him, a spiteful John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy suggests that they put Glass out of his misery, but Andrew Henry, played by Domhall Gleeson, insists that some men stay behind with Glass just in case he survives the brutal attack. Glass’s son, Fitzgerald, and Jim Bridger, played by Will Poulter, all stay behind with Glass. With the rest of the team gone, Fitzgerald kills Glass’s son and leaves Glass for dead. Now Glass must survive and battle his way back to take his revenge on John Fitzgerald.
First of all, the performances in this movie are absolutely out of this world. I don’t want to say that DiCaprio is the front runner for the Oscar, but he is definitely a very strong contender, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he did take home the statue. He doesn’t have many lines in the movie. It is mostly a film portrayed through actions, and DiCaprio, despite being so great at delivering lines, does a wonderful job painting expressions of pain, sadness, anger, regret, and so many other emotions on his face. He spends a decent chunk of the film unable to speak and move, and even in those scenes he shows the kind of pain he is in through his actions, facial expression, and mannerisms. He also does such a great job with the relationship between he and his son. He does such a phenomenal job creating chemistry with his son, and it is so believable when he is absolutely crushed over his son, and his reason for taking his revenge makes so much sense. Tom Hardy was also fantastic in this movie. I also truly believe he is a serious contender for Best Supporting Actor. I don’t know if he will win due to the list of candidates this year (Seriously. Have you seen this list?), but he was so good and plays the villain so well. The seriousness that he brings to the table is great, and he nails the accent. I also have to mention both Domhall Gleeson and Will Poulter. Domhall Gleeson proved this year that he is a brilliant talent with Ex Machina and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and once again, he completely delivers in his role in the film. His character works so well, and he is so easy to get behind. I truly cared about his character, and I’m so happy he gave the performance that he did. I haven’t seen Will Poulter in anything that has blown my mind yet. That’s until now. Holy moly Will Poulter is great in this movie. Every action is so innocent yet intelligent, and for someone who can easily be looked at as the guy from The Maze Runner or the weird kid from We’re The Millers, he really sets himself apart and shows he has some serious acting chops.
Alejandro González Iñárritu also does an amazing job directing this film. Coming off of a Best Director win, I expected big things from him, and it’s exactly what I got. There are so many perfect wide shots and huge, long takes allowing the actors to show off their acting abilities as well as letting the scenes, characters, and settings develop into pieces of artwork. One thing I admire about Iñárritu is that every time he comes into a film, we can expect him to do something entirely new and innovative. In Birdman, the movie is shot with long takes and camera use to make it appear as though there are no cuts. There were breaks in shooting the film, but there were so many long takes that the actors kept track of how many mistakes each one of them made and kind of turned it into a friendly competition. As for The Revenant, I can truly say that I have not ever seen a movie like this. Iñárritu uses all natural light to shoot this film. There is no artificial light. It makes for such an intense and realistic take on the story. I feel like I’m right there with these characters, and this movie absolutely demands to be seen in theaters. It is a one of a kind film, and Iñárritu is definitely one of the most intelligent and most creative directors in Hollywood, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. The action and pain in the film is so well shot, and it really puts you right into the action. You feel like you are right there sleeping in horse carcasses and falling down waterfalls with Glass. I also loved the musical score. It was so strong, deep, and powerful, and every time I heard it, I got chills. It was kind of on-and-off, but they used it at the correct times to perfectly portray mood and convey emotion.
I absolutely loved The Revenant, but I will say that while I was blown away by how the story was portrayed, it contained many elements of the typical revenge story. It was an original take on it, but multiple aspects of the story and the motives and reasons for characters actions are those of a very typical revenge story. Next, the film was a little bit long. Just as I said in my review for The Hateful Eight, it wasn’t a horribly boring kind of long, but it was slightly dragging, and with a little bit less time, I feel like the story could have focused slightly less on the “style over substance” aspect. There are so many shots displaying the “style,” and though I actually did like them and respect them, I don’t feel as though they were always necessary. It was almost as if the film was saying, “Look at me! I’m doing something smart and new!” They weren’t huge issues, but they were issues that I had to mention. As bad as I want to tell you that this movie is perfect, I have to be honest with you about how I feel.
My problems with The Revenant definitely did not overshadow my positives, and I would definitely suggest, or demand, that you see this film in theaters. I’ve never seen a movie like The Revenant, and while it wasn’t perfect, it was a complete and total work of ingenious art. Overall, I loved this movie, and had I not already made my list of top 20 films of 2015 yet, I would definitely have this in the top 10, maybe the top 5. I’m going to give The Revenant a 9.3/10. It’s one of the best films of the year, and should be seen on the big screen as an experience like no other.
With that, I have seen and reviewed one of my most anticipated films of 2015. Have you seen The Revenant? If you have, what did you think? If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and go check it out in theaters. The big screen is where this movie should be seen, and it’s an experience. Also, what is your favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie? Do you think that The Revenant will be his Oscar winner? I can’t say if it will or not. He gives one of his greatest performances of his career in The Revenant, and it’s just a matter of time before he gets it. He brings movie goers joy, so Oscar or not, he still gives amazing performances and sells tickets, and for good reason. Some of my favorite DiCaprio movies are The Wolf of Wall Street, Inception, The Departed, Django Unchained, Shutter Island, and Catch Me If You Can. While we’re at it, let’s throw The Revenant on that list.
My next review before my first Throwback Thursday Review will be for the 2015 remake of the 1991 classic action movie Point Break. In that review I will also announce what will be my next Throwback Thursday Review! I also have some great news for movie fans of The Pulse! Next weekend, 88.7 The Pulse will be premiering a new show called Movie EKG featuring Matt Casillas and myself where we will review a new movie coming out over the weekend as well as discussing the week’s movie news. We will also be answering Twitter and email questions, so if you would like your question answered about anything in the world of movies, Tweet us @movieekg or email us at movieekg@gmail,com, and we will give you a shout out on the show! Be sure to tune in to the show, and as always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!