“The Revenant (2015)” follows the journey of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s. There are many difficult situations that the protagonist has to overcome, but most of this film is about achieving revenge, and survival.
I don’t have anything bad to say about this film. The story is interesting, the director was able to create many amazing shots and sequences, and the acting is some of the best acting you will ever see. What was the most intriguing throughout this film is a sense of a more ‘original’ take on the native-american experience. Old Hollywood would have made this into a good vs bad kind of a movie (*not always) whereas this movie combines both. Meaning; nothing is inherently good, or bad. There is also a sense of spirituality, mainly through nature scenes that one can experience when watching this movie. Additionally, the bear attack scene is very impressive. I think that most of the audience’s engagement really depends on such action scenes. Mainly because there are only so many nature shots and scenes that you can present to the audience before they are getting restless. I would argue that this movie found that balance between action and a more ‘pure/Art’ cinematographic experience. Keep in mind this movie is 156 minutes long, and this can feel either really slow if you are constantly waiting for action, or just right if you focus on the cinematographic, and emotional experience.
However, I do think that there are some issues with the plot structure, or rather, I don’t think that some of these setups really work. In the beginning of the movie everything falls into place. It makes sense, and you really feel drawn into the story that is presented to you. However, towards the end it becomes unrealistic. There is one scene where they chase the antagonist. They arrange a group of people to join but only two of them can be seen. Moreover, it becomes the classical horror genre mistake; separate, and fight the enemy one on one. Although, the outcome is very interesting and definitely worth watching. It’s not cheesy, or unoriginal in any way. There are other moments which just seem too unrealistic to me. Yes, you can justify a lot of these scenes but it does feel that this movie has some additional shortcomings. For example; leaving the protagonist and antagonist alone at a moment where one of them is extremely vulnerable. One could argue here that all of them wanted the person to die, but why was his own son not around, or at least not very close when his antagonist is sitting next to him? These scenes are necessary and related to the ‘action’, or hyper intense moments. Without these scenes people would be bored very quickly. However, I think they should have written such scenes in a more realistic way. One that would make more sense. A son that never leaves the side of his father, and only does so when the father is about to die doesn’t make much sense to me. Whereas, a son that never leaves the side of his father, but is forced to do so because he himself is injured does make sense. There are many other unrealistic moments for the sake of intensity, and there is nothing wrong with it. However, it is clearly not a perfect movie.
I would like to conclude with the following idea; if you are interested in amazing directing, actors, and setting then this is a film for you. Moreover, if you are a Leonardi DiCaprio fan then this is a great film. However, if you are looking for a realistic, and interesting plot then you might not find this film interesting. You could describe it as an upgraded Western movie. The difference with the old Hollywood Westerns (1930’s-1960’s) and “The Revenant” is that the old Western movies had a more interesting plot. At times “The Revenant” feels like a journey without purpose. I would describe it as an experience driven film packed with intensity, and not a story driven film.
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Mark L. Smith (screenplay) & Alejandro G. Iñárritu (screenplay) Michael Punke (based in part on the novel by)