Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is a brilliant filmmaker, and Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best actors of all-time. Plus there’s Tom Hardy! Also, who doesn’t love a good revenge tale? I’m all in for The Revenant.
The Revenant is a visually stunning film. You could easily watch it with no sound and you’d still be amazed. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu clearly spared no expense on eye-pleasing imagery, and his tracking shots are as on point as ever throughout the film. The Revenant is – to be super clear – a total treat to just look at.
As for the plot, which follows a man (Leonardo DiCaprio in Oscar-winning mode) crawling out of the wilderness in an attempt to seek revenge on the meanie head (Tom Hardy as mumbly and brilliant as ever) that left him for dead, is pretty straightforward and, to be honest, a little thin. This is where The Revenant stumbles. Sure, it features great performances, the film itself is intense and brutal, and there are more breathtaking shots on display than any of us deserve, but there is a point where the lack of a more compelling story makes the movie’s various artsy elements feel like a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed The Revenant, but it would be silly to ignore how it plays as though a message saying “look how serious we are about our art” might scroll across the screen at any moment.
See The Revenant because you should, but downshift your expectations a bit. It feels more like a work of art than a movie, and that’s not exactly the point of it all, is it?
One Last Thought:
Unless the Academy just really takes issue with the fact that Leo didn’t fight a real bear in The Revenant, I think he’ll finally get his Oscar.