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The Revenant

January 23, 2016

The Revenant (2015)
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson

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Synopsis: A group of rugged trappers in the wintry nether-regions of the Canadian wilderness in the 19th Century lose their transport and find themselves under siege from an enemy Native American tribe. When one of the group, Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), is left near dead after a vicious bear attack, he is eventually abandoned to the wilds all on his own….

Review: Akin to the juggernaut that was Twelve Years A Slave from two years previous, The Revenant hits this year’s award season as the worthy, muscular ‘big hitter’, and judging by its reviews and box office figures so far, it’s conquered hearts and minds aplenty already, so let me sound a contrary voice amid the fanfare….

I found the film to be purveyor of an air of faux spiritualism, and, ironically on a similar bent to the previously mentioned Twelve Years A Slave, it confuses ‘epic’ with ‘meaningful’, and ‘sadism’ with ‘attrition’. Also, beneath The Revenant‘s earnest veneer of elemental savagery and brutality, it’s a staggeringly conventional story, supping from a very similar gooey syrup of pastoral and dreamy ‘lost wife and son visions’ to those of Gladiator – another film that bears uncanny similarity to The Revenant.

Of course, the film is immense to look at, but then I’d expect nothing less considering the subject matter, the budget, and the pedigree of director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki. And even then, the ethereal white glow they balm their stark scenery in transmits as a slightly clunky effect to over-demonstrate this attritional/dreamy dialectic. I imagine González Iñárritu and Lubezki thought they were pitching the material somewhere along the lines of a Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog or Francis Ford Coppola number, yet they’ve ended up rolling out the hackneyed historical epic tropes of a Ridley Scott instead. (January 2016)


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Walmann permalink
    March 8, 2016 6:07 pm

    Patrick, I have throughly enjoyed reading through your blog!

  2. March 11, 2016 1:43 am

    Thanks Robert! Carry on reading…

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