The winter is devastating.
He lies buried in dirt; he struggles.
He crawls through the snow with bloodied hands; the man’s eyes are filled with desperation.
The man is Hugh Glass (Played by Leonardo DiCaprio) whom after a brutal fight with a bear, is on the brink of death. John Fitzgerald (Played by Tom Hardy) is one of the men who has decided to stay behind to tend to Glass’s wounds. However, he soon grows tired of waiting for Glass to die. He tries to end Glass’s suffering and is interrupted by his son Hawk. (Played by Forrest Goodluck) Fitzgerald murders Hawk and convinces the rest of the men to abandon Glass for dead.
The film lingers on Glass as he strives to survive in the wilderness, striving only to seek vengeance for his son.
If ‘Birdman’ didn’t convince me that Alejandro G. Iñárritu was a master director, ‘The Revenant’ certainly has. Unlike ‘Birdman’ where the use of the unbroken long take often seemed to me to be more like a gimmick than an actual narrative device. However, in ‘The Revenant’ Iñárritu’s hallmark of long takes are frequent, but not constant. His use of the long take now serves to enhance the narrative of the film rather than undermine it. The famous scene shown in the trailers where Glass is mauled by a bear has multiple long takes, each striving to place the viewer in the position and viewpoint of Glass and in the center of the action.
The film is enthralling when it is centered on the Glass’s desperate attempts to survive in the wilderness. Further enhanced by the use of beauteous wide shots of the harsh, empty and cold land. The journey that Glass embarks on is torturous. Under great pain, he crawls to find water. He even goes as far as to burn his open wounds to close them up.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in the film is in my opinion by far the best of all of the performances of him that I have seen. Leonardo DiCaprio pulls a much more quiet and subtle performance in the film. He speaks little and when he does, his voice is coarse and barely audible. But his actions and facial expressions speak louder for him than what mere words can.
However, although ‘The Revenant’ does get many things right, I feel that the length of the film is something that should be discussed. Alfred Hitchcock once said: ‘The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.’ While it is not the fault of the film itself that I desperately needed to use the restroom after 3/4 of the film, since I did drink quite a lot of fluids throughout my watching, the length of the film need not be so long as to be 2 hours and 30 minutes long. The plot of the film is plain and simple: it is a revenge story of a guy surpassing all odds to attain his revenge. Many scenes just went on unnecessarily too long, showing a little too many scenes of the characters walking from one point to another. Such scenes could be cut to overall reduce the run time by 15 minutes to a half hour.
At the end of the film, Glass finally confronts Fitzgerald.
It is clear that Glass has only eyes for revenge yet…
Against the harsh winter snow, they seem less like individuals but rather just two old men.
‘The Revenant’ isn’t just a film. It is an experience, one that is best to be watched and experienced inside the comforts of a theater.