Benjamin Maio Mackay
The Revenant - 1.5 Stars
The film that’s “taking Hollywood by storm” is certainly not all it lives up to be.
In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.
It’s interesting to finally see this film in cinemas after a number of cast and director changes – not to mention many delays and issues during the filming. The result is a mediocre survival thriller. The first issue is the length; the movie is 156 minutes – that means once a cinema plays trailers you are in a cinema for 3 hours. It’s very hard to maintain any storyline for that length of time, so instead The Revenant has three separate plot lines running. This could have been superb if only they had stuck to one – the one that followed Tom Hardy and Will Poulter’s characters.
Leonardo DiCaprio delivers a strong performance, but his storyline is so repetitive after the first 25 minutes that it doesn't give him much room to demonstrate his talent. Tom Hardy gives an exceptional performance and he is frighteningly menacing during the entire film. Will Poulter is surprisingly good – his combination of emotions brings to life a very 3D character. Domhnall Gleeson is also good, but is for once underused.
Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is mind-blowing. If you paused the film in any spot you could easily print that frame and hang it on your wall – this film looks amazing and it would be an injustice for Lubezki not to win an Oscar for his work.
One of the main problems is it tries to be a deep, meaningful and an “Oscar worthy movie,” this leads to a survival/escape story being too long and having too many unnecessary storylines being played out.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas