With ‘The Revenant’ opening in limited theaters on Christmas Day, we have to know if it’s a must-see this year. Does Leonoardo DiCaprio score high once again or is this one just too dark to handle?
The Revenant trailer alone gives me anxiety, but does that just mean it’s a brilliant masterpiece. The film, directed by Birdman‘s Alejandro Iñárritu, gained a ton of chatter when the team decided to shoot the entire 156 minutes in natural light. Plus, it’s rare that Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy don’t shine. So, is this the one to see on Christmas? Here’s what the critics are saying.
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Note to movie pussies: The Revenant is not for you. Life put the screws to Hugh Glass, the real-life tracker and fur trapper played to the hilt and beyond by Leonardo DiCaprio. And director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a groundbreaker from Amores Perros to Birdman, damn near tortures his cast and his audience in telling the story of Glass’ revenge against the varmints, headed by John Fitzgerald (a wicked-nasty Tom Hardy), who done him wrong. Set in the untamed West of 1823, it’s one brutal, badass epic. But hang on for its unforgiving 156 minutes and you get to experience the power of cinema unleashed. Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki — a true artist of light and shadow — shot on locations in Canada and Argentina.The visionary result is so relentlessly raw you can see the breath of the freezing actors, some of whom referred to the filming as a living hell.
Yet in attempting to merge a Western revenge thriller, a meditative epic in the Terrence Malick mold, and a lost-in-the-wilderness production of near-Herzogian insanity, “The Revenant” increasingly succumbs to the air of grim overdetermination that has marred much of Inarritu’s past work: It’s an imposing vision, to be sure, but also an inflated and emotionally stunted one, despite an anchoring performance of ferocious 200% commitment from Leonardo DiCaprio.
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu may have fashioned The Revenant as the ultimate endurance test, but its star, Leonardo DiCaprio, simply endures. Never has film suffering looked so ravishing as in The Revenant, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s true-life tale of one man’s terrible adventures in unforgiving 1820s Wyoming. Leonardo DiCaprio plays frontiersman Hugh Glass, who suffers a mauling at the meaty paws of an angry mama bear, only to learn that the cruelty of man is much colder. Lord, how he suffers! But beautifully.
Wall Street Journal
The film, which has a running time of 152 minutes, seeks transcendence through intensity and achieves it visually, if not dramatically. (The cinematographer was the peerless Emmanuel Lubezki, who also shot Mr. Iñárritu’s previous film, “Birdman,” and “Gravity” as well.) That said, I came out of this would-be epic feeling physically exhausted, psychically mauled and none the better for wear.
What did you think, HollywoodLifers? Will you see The Revenant? Let us know!