Before I start my critical charade, I think there's one thing we can all agree on; this film is breathtaking. It's an experience of a movie. It is marvelous to see nature at its most beautiful. And then it becomes really, really disgusting and I shut my eyes. (Seriously, Leonardo diCaprio character’s wounds after getting mauled by a bear--a fantastic achievement-- had me cringing.) This film's brutality is relentless. It's so hard to watch at some points. The natural feeling of the film and the actual pains the cast and crew went through to make the film somehow make it even worse. It makes me feel like everything in this is real. And that's absolutely terrifying. This film is 99% technical brilliance, although some dialogue didn't seem to match the character's lips.
The Revenant follows Hugh Glass, (Leonardo DiCaprio) a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s, who fights for his survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.
The performances in this movie are mainly good. Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass is marvelous. Just thinking about some of the stuff Glass goes through in the film makes me shiver, and Leo made me believe it every step of the way. Domhnall Gleeson, in his fourth critically-acclaimed movie of the year (After Ex Machina, Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens, and Brooklyn, holy crap this guy wins 2015) is also great. Will Poulter's character is basically how I would react to everything going on around me if I was witnessing these events, and he's great. Tom Hardy is a great actor, but I couldn't understand a thing he was saying in this movie. I hope Hardy doesn't become that guy you don't understand in every movie, since he was also Mad Max and Bane.
Every single action scene in this movie is marvelous. They feel dangerous, real, and are very difficult to get through at parts. Since Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki just made Birdman, you should expect the long takes/oners throughout. They add to the impressiveness of the film, and the beauty.
So this film follows a formula of revenge films, that formula being "you killed my ____, I'm gonna kill you for revenge!" And although the film is a great version of that formula, if you look at the real life story, none of that formula happens. Glass gets mauled by the bear and two people leave him to die. He doesn't die. His revenge in real life was a psychological revenge; it's a message. "You guys left a dying man to die, and he didn't." It makes them feel horrible about themselves. Fitzgerald, Tom Hardy's character, doesn't even die in the real story. A revenge film with no main character dying and a much more fascinating motive sounds a lot more interesting to me.
There's also smaller issues I have with the movie; Glass has too many visions of his dead wife, where it just felt excessive and I had already gotten the point. The film drags in between Glass getting better and the main group of his hunting team finding him. But it's mainly great, and the visual look of the movie is really fantastic. It's just something I have seen before, although it's certainly a good sight.