The Revenant movie full length review - A classic case of style over substance
What an absolute waste of 2.5 hours.
It didn't look like it was going to be my type of film, but the trailer was very convincing, not to mention the plethora of award nominations it has received, so I decided to give it a go.
It started with a collection of superb actors, delivering solid performances. Despite what I've read, I thought Tom Hardy's accent was spot on - that is what that accent sounds like! Domhnall Gleeson is in everything these days, for good reason, and Will Poulter was certainly endearing. Leonardo DiCaprio was excellent, dragging oneself through the snow post-bear mauling should be pretty torturous, and as we know from Wolf of Wall Street's infamous 'Ludes' scene, DiCaprio is a pro at crawling and grunting.
A cast such as this should have delivered an outstanding movie, so I can only assume something went catastrophically wrong with the script. Because my God was it BORING.
There was absolutely zero character development. If you're going to produce something that is on the long side, at least give me something to work with here? The son was killed so early (and following so few lines) I genuinely didn't care, which didn't help to lay a foundation for why I should care about Glass's prolonged revenge mission.
As well as the characters being entirely 2D, they also quickly became parodies of themselves. "The Revenant Presents: Domhnall Gleeson as the Principled Yet Naive Captain (who must die as punishment for his ineptitude); Tom Hardy as the Southern Villain (with no redeeming features, who likewise must die to maintain the idea of a Just World); Will Poulter as the Impressionable Young Soldier-type and Leonardo DiCaprio as the Tortured Hero. Don't forget the Arrogant French Braggarts, and the Wise Yet Ruthless Indigenous People. Oh and Tom Hardy's Random Cockney Friend."
While I still think Hardy's accent was well executed, the choice to use an accent which is often a source of ridicule (I'm not endorsing that view) only served to undermine the tension rather than build it, making him seem like a fool rather than a dangerous adversary. Admittedly, he did a kill a number of people so maybe playing The Fool was his way of lulling everyone into a false sense of security.
DiCaprio was convincing in his role of the Aggrieved Father avenging the death of his son, but his journey of adversity quickly became absurd rather than laudable. The bear attack was BRUTAL, and as his company quickly concluded, it seems unlikely he would have survived his injuries, particularly when being carted around in the depth of winter.
But no, not only does he survive, he also survives Hardy's attempt to smother him, and being dragged into a partial burial, as well as witnessing the murder of his son (which would be enough to render any of us catatonic). OK, this might be plausible, maybe.
Then he wanders around for a bit, spurred on by the prospect of vengeance, before being nearly drowned in a river. Again, the trip down the rapids would have been enough to drown the average man, let alone someone who has just suffered a savage bear attack followed by an attempted smothering. But no, he comes to a gentle stop at the river bank and has a nap - mysteriously without succumbing to hypothermia.
Cue more wandering, some assistance from a kindly fellow wanderer, and yet more wandering.
As if three potential deaths weren't enough (four if you account for the bear effectively attacking him twice), he's then under attack by the very people who's daughter he's just rescued, and not only does he not get shot (despite these people having been shown to be frighteningly accurate), his horse RIDES HIM OFF A CLIFF and surprise, surprise - HE LIVES! In fact, he doesn't just survive it, he guts the dead horse and SLEEPS INSIDE IT. *Beats chest asserting manliness*
By the end I was desperate for one of them to just kill the other so I could go home. Tom Hardy finally met his maker - not before uttering the obligatory moral message that revenge doesn't make us feel better.
The Revenant is a classic case of style over substance. Fantastic actors, slipping effortlessly into a range of clichéd characters, stunning cinematography, and zero emotion. I'm a crier, I will cry at the majority of films and TV shows (and occasionally books), so the fact that I not only didn't cry, but felt absolutely nothing towards any of the characters, says it all.
It's clearly a polarising piece of work, I've seen many other reviews here that echo my sentiments, yet my boyfriend loved it, and the average rating is currently 8.3! Unfortunately, Award Land appears to be siding with my other half. This year's Oscar Best Picture category is a crowded race with several worthy contenders - but the Revenant is not one, and I really hope it doesn't win.
Does DiCaprio deserve the nomination? He was one of the better things in this film, and playing such a role must have pushed him to his physical limits, so maybe he does. Frankly, he's massively overdue one so for God's sake just give the man an Oscar and let's forget this absurd study in masculine pride ever existed.