The Revenant is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu who is known for his critically acclaimed work on films such as Birdman and 21 Grams. The Revenant is a high-risk, gruesome revenge tale based on the real life events of fur trader Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is left for dead by his companion (Tom Hardy) after being savagely attacked by a furious mother grizzly bear. The Revenant has a mix of attractive and repulsive features, which makes it difficult to come to a clear verdict for the film.
On one side, the film happens to be one of the most visceral and stunningly beautiful films this year, due to the work of two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who is trying for his third Oscar in a row.
DiCaprio is also out for an Oscar this year and provides a phenomenal performance where he barely utters more than a few lines of dialogue. He ate real bison organs! He is in it to win. Also, Tom Hardy, who plays the most villainous character in the film, provides a truly deceitful and intriguing performance. It’s also worth noting that Domhnall Gleeson, a fairly new actor on the scene provides solid moments and adds to the all-star cast.
Frustratingly, it takes Iñárritu two hours and thirty-six minutes to dish out a very simple revenge story. This is problematic and speaks to larger issues in film: extending the runtime to create a richer and more epic feel to a film in which it’s not really needed. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu also mistakes violence against his characters and graphic imagery for story depth as a method to keep audiences interested, but it doesn’t end up invoking the effect he was looking for as it became overly tedious.
Overall, The Revenant is ultimately Oscar-bait. It’s a solid film with great aesthetics, but it never really resonated with me. There is no arguing that Leonardo DiCaprio and his fellow actors provide excellent performances and Emmanuel Lubezki creates an earthly wonder in The Revenant through his camera work, but with the long run time and monotonous story, The Revenant doesn’t offer quite enough for moviegoers.
– Tyrell Lisson