Posted by: greercn | January 31, 2016

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio may finally win an Oscar. He only has about 20 lines in “The Revenant”, but his body works hard and shows a range of emotions. It is an extremely physical and draining performance and it can be tough to watch.

The look of this is shimmery and artistic, despite graphic depictions of suffering. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu creates a new kind of Western and masters a distinctive visual tone, as he did with “Birdman”. Emmanuel Lubezki is the fine cinematographer who creates this with Inarritu.

Based on the true story of Hugh Glass, you probably already know there is a bear attack. Michael Punke wrote the 2002 book.

A “revenant” is “one who comes back, especially from the dead”.

At two hours and 36 minutes, much of the story feels true to life. Except for the ending. No spoilers here, but that ending goes on for way too long and feels false. This would have been a far better movie if 15 minutes had been shaved off the length.

And there is one female part with one line and another with a ghostly presence. Don’t come here looking for strong women.

The American frontier wilderness of the 1820s and the business of fur trapping and trading probably was a club for boys only.

Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter and Forrest Goodluck are all very good and the whole cast assists in creating an engrossing story.

First Nations rarely fare well, in Westerns and this breaks no new ground. The music can be quite intrusive, but is mostly good.

But you’re here for Leo and for that individual vision of Inarritu and Lubezki.

The large audience at Stratford East Picturehouse all enjoyed it. And I did too, as it looks so lovely. But it’s too long. Leo deserves praise but is this really the best performance by a leading actor this year? I am not convinced.

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