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by Jennifer Fiduccia

The movie The Revenant is a new release starring Leonardo DiCaprio (playing Hugh Glass), Tom Hardy (playing John Fitzgerald), Will Poulter (playing Jim Bridger), and Forrest Goodluck (playing Glass’ half Indian son Hawk). It is directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and Mark L Smith.

Based on previews and ads I had seen for the film; I was really looking forward to screening this movie.

I am a huge DiCaprio fan, and I have liked most of the recent roles I have seen Tom Hardy in as well.

The story is based off of true events and follows a novel by Michael Punke about an actual 19th-century incident in the days of the Western fur trade. It involves Indian attacks, animal attacks, the struggle for survival and vengeance.

The background and scenery in the move are breathtaking. The acting is believable, mostly. The emotions of the characters definitely come shining through.

Some of the camera shots that the director chooses to hone in on, are not to my taste. There are only so many up close and personal tight angle shots of snot running from someone’s nose in a movie that I really care to see. One time is plenty. There are far more than one of those types of shots though, and it sort of turned me off.

One of the major scenes involves a vicious bear attack. It was gruesome and believable and horrifying… the entire audience gasped and squirmed in their seats uncomfortably.

As much as I wanted to like the film, it just seemed like it dragged on and on for me. I kept wondering when it was going to end. I’m not sure if that was because I didn’t like some of the gorier close up shots, or some of the bouncy camera footage (it makes me feel sick to my stomach) or if each individual piece of the story itself was just a bit too long which just added up throughout the movie, but I feel like I spent more time wondering whether it was going to be over soon, than really truly getting into the movie. In many longer movies, I am so into the story that I don’t even notice the passage of time, but that was definitely not the case for this film.

DiCaprio did a great job portraying a broken, beaten man trying to survive and ultimately seeking vengeance upon the man who did him wrong, and Tom Hardy did a great job portraying a man sucked in by greed, but the performances couldn’t overcome the amount of time spent on getting from one pint to the next in the film.

I would personally give this movie 2.5 out of 5 stars, but can see how others would give it a higher rating. It just didn’t turn out to be my
cup of tea.

 

Second Review by Sasha Glen.

 

Inspired by the life of nineteenth century frontiersman Hugh Glass, “The Revenant” tells a story of loss, suffering, survival and revenge.  

Set in the brutal wilderness of what is now South Dakota and Montana, a party of hunters are attacked by a Native American tribe while hunting for pelts. Fast paced from the onset, the film wastes no time. During the gruesome battle, the party becomes scattered throughout the forest. Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is viciously mauled by a mother bear when he stumbles across her cubs. After the attack, Glass is left in the hands of his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and two other hunters, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Bridger (Will Poulter).

Unable to move or speak, Glass witnesses his own son murdered before his eyes and is left for dead.

Everything, from the bear attack itself to Glass’ atrocious wounds, is executed with realistic detail. After being left half buried alive, Glass is driven by the passion of revenge as he makes his way through the wilderness.

The entire cast appears authentic in their roles, giving the film a raw and realistic quality. DiCaprio transcends himself, becoming Glass as he “relives” the survival tale.

Although it is a fast moving and focused film, it has many layers. Sort of a Hobbesian scenario, life for everyone is poor, nasty, brutish and short. Lines between good and bad are blurred by survival instincts. Tension between tribes as well as between tribes and hunters paints a bloody picture of history.

Layers that make up a greater story are woven into the plot, overlapping with Glass’ journey. This gives the film an almost spiritual quality. Filled with captivating moments, it never begins to drag on like many other survival movies tend to do.

Much of the film is shot with a wide point of view, essentially placing the audience inside stunning scenes of wilderness, wildlife, and brutal battles.  

Nothing short of a beautiful piece of cinematic artistry, I give “The Revenant 5 out of 5 stars”

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