First of all, Leo is winning all of the awards for this performance. He’s already snagged the Golden Globe for best actor in a leading role and more recently, the Screen Actors Guild award. Iñárritu also won the Golden Globe for best director. And let’s not forget that this is our golden boy’s year to win the coveted Oscar, a first for Leo. In fact, The Revenant has been nominated for 12 Oscars in total this year, including Best Picture. Now I know the Oscars and other award ceremonies aren’t the be-all and end-all of movie greatness, I’m just explaining that you’re the only person that hasn’t seen this amazing film (presumably).
Secondly, this is the most beautiful movie I’ve seen in several years. Every image is breathtaking, from the incredible Canadian and Argentinian landscapes to the way the camera glides through a scene as if operated by a ghost. Cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki rarely disappoints, and I believe this may be his best work yet. An amazing thing about this film is that it was shot almost entirely void of artificial light. Because of this limitation, they were only capable of shooting for a handful of hours every day, causing the schedule to inflate until they actually had the leave Canada because winter was on its way out the door. What they captured, however, is a film that allows you to immerse yourself in the experience and truly feel like you’re struggling with the characters through a wide-angle lens. I cannot stress this enough: see this movie in a theater. Now.
Thirdly, it’s a great story. The true tale of Hugh Glass is endlessly fascinating and inspiring, but the filmmakers here ramped it up with a handful of creative flourishes to make it truly great and unique. Tom Hardy plays the purely evil antagonist, John Fitzgerald, so well that you will hate him with every inch of your being by the end of the film. Hugh Glass’s struggles are so devastating and human that you want his success just as much as he does. All of the supporting characters are well developed and actually add something to the story. Other than that, it’s a simple story about survival, revenge, and the human spirit. It transcends what most of mainstream Hollywood movies stand for and envelopes the audience in something real, allowing them to make meaning for themselves.
If my three main points still aren’t convincing you, I’m not sure what will. It’s been such a long time since I’ve actually cared about the Oscars. I want the film, Iñárritu, and Leo to win, simply because they deserve it. The artistry in this film is unmatched. It’s a little long and slow at points, but I guarantee it will leave you exhausted and satisfied at the end. Other than that, I’m not sure I can think of any down sides. Perhaps the symbolism is a little ham-fisted here or there, but everything has meaning which is really nice to see in such a big movie. Oh! And it should be noted that this movie is violent. It’s almost difficult to take in, because everything feels so realistic. We’re not talking Quentin Tarantino violence; we’re talking real-life Cowboys and Indians violence. Also, there’s this gross scene with a dead horse… And a gross scene with a dead bison… It’s a really good movie, I promise!
4 ½ out of 5 Stars
Run Time: 2 hours 36 minutes