Revenant – (n.) One who has returned, as if from the dead

  • Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
  • Hugh Glass – Leonardo DiCaprio
  • John Fitzgerald – Tom Hardy
  • Captain Andrew Henry – Domhnall Gleeson
  • Hawk – Forrest Goodluck
  • Bear – CGi

Beware for Spoilers

The borenant? I think my super high expectations ruined this film for me. I was expecting a colder “Birdman”. Something that had heart and a deeper meaning. I feel like Inarritu put a little too much in the cinematography and just forgot about the rest of the movie. I wanted this movie to be my #1 of 2015 so badly going in. Instead I was left with a visually stunning movie that never kept up in story telling.

Inarritu and Lubezki (cinematographer) got some shots in this movie that I have no way of comprehending. There were some water shots that were unbelievable and the scenery was great as well. I didn’t see a better looking movie in 2015 and I can guarantee that with utmost confidence. I know they shot this movie only using natural lighting and it paid off. Characters looked well lit and the snow provided light in a new and creative way. I was pleasantly surprised by how much emotion they were able to capture as well as the characters felt pain and happiness.

But when does the story matter at all? Should we change our opinions on something because we know the filmmakers were trying to make it look better than it was?

My opinion is that story is higher on my priority list than visuals. So there’s my bias in case anyone wonders why I’m so harsh on this film. It’s not a bad film. It’s in my good category actually. I just wished that it was great as we were lead on to believe.

The scene that I have a problem with the most in this film is the scene with the bear because it ruins the rest it. Bears can weigh anywhere from 500 pounds to 1500 pounds. I’m no bear expert nor claim to be. But Leo should have died in that scene. I know it wouldn’t have fit the title if he came back but the movie would have made more sense if he died. There was no imagery to indicate that he was maybe a ghost, he was just back. Full recovery with no real medical treatment. The bear stomped his head and back multiple times. I think that he wouldn’t have been able to move ever again. I know the human body is resilient but that was so ridiculous to me.

The reason that it ruined the rest of the movie was because at each new interaction with danger, I knew Leo was going to live. He lived through the bear scene, he can make it through anything. I thought Leo was good for the part he was given. I do wonder how much pain he actually felt in shooting. Sometimes his performance becomes disjointed to me. I just felt there were times when I felt super connected to him and then not at all. I thought his character was generic and provided no new substance. He was just a typical western character looking for revenge.

Tom Hardy was a little better. I felt that his dialogue was a little quiet at times and I needed subtitles (and was not given them). Some of his lines were completely lost to me. It wasn’t a huge deal because when I did hear his lines, I was able to connect from where they were left off. This might be from me personally or from my theater but I was disappointed by that. Hardy’s character was a little more interesting and I actually ended up rooting for him in the majority of the film. I thought his ending was anticlimactic but I don’t know how they would have changed it in any way. After seeing Legend, I felt that his character could have been more fleshed out.

Gleeson was fine when he was on screen. His character was like the others and predictable and sometimes lacking in substance. I thought he had the best performance in the film. The pain he had was shown on his face not only as he was betrayed but as he saw his friends turn on him and each other. Leo’s son, Goodluck, was the most boring out of the bunch. Most of his lines were groans and he was the definition of boring. I never felt for him, I just wanted his character arc to end.

Overall, this was a great looking movie where the substance unfortunately fell a little short. I had a hard time connecting with the characters because they were one dimensional and boring. I could never care for them as I knew what they would do next before seeing it. This movie also dragged in many places for stylistic reasons that didn’t hit the mark for me because the story was so uninteresting to me.

Score: 6/10