Film Review by FIORE
I am beginning to like the manner which Alejandro G. Inarritu approaches filmmaking. With the exception of his dreadful BIRDMAN, he brings an interesting perspective to his endeavors. That said, Inarritu seems to be falling prey to Hollywood trappings, allowing his story telling to expand vast deserts of time, rather than relaxing in a comforting oasis. In his latest, THE REVENANT, he combines with Editor Stephen Mirrione, ACE, to tell a simplistic tale of revenge in over two and a half hours. This causes THE REVENANT to drag mercilessly. There are no surprises; everyone knows where the film is travelling. The saving grace to the movie is without question, Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC/AMC.
The great Northwest is largely uncharted and uncivilized terrain, inhabited by Indians, the French and Americans. THE REVENANT begins with a group of independent contractors hired to hunt pelts and furs. The group is taking care of business, without BTO, when they are beset by Indians. The savages want to purloin the collected pelts and trade them for guns and horses with the French. Never trust the French. Meanwhile, the guide for the pelt-hunters, Hutch Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is mutilated by a grizzly bear while on a seek and destroy mission for food. The Americans are forced to stash their booty and flee the Indians, while tending to the badly injured Glass. This does not bode well with John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who feels Glass is at the core of the troop’s troubles. He kills Glass’ son and buries Glass alive. Naturally, our protagonist will not rest until he avenges this heinous act.
DiCaprio continues to be a stalwart in Tinseltown. He proves, with each performance, he has talent to spare. For THE REVENANT, it’s not his line delivery that marks his presentation, but rather his facial emotions. His enactment is visual and is aided immensely by the work of Lubezki. He uses graphic vectors, 360 spin shots and double zoom POVs to enhance both the characters and establishing shots. Meanwhile, Tom Hardy is battling Doug Jones for the label of chameleon actor. Hardy has started off 2016 with three roles and in each, he is barely recognizable.
Unfortunately, there is nothing more THE REVENANT has to offer. Those old enough to have seen films in the 70’s will easily note the movie bears a striking resemblance to Richard Harris’ MAN IN THE WILDERNESS. Both plotline and natural hardships are similar. Screenwriter Mark Smith’s adaptation is analogous to taking the long way home. In addition, he incorporates a multitude of injury inconsistencies as Glass recuperates. For instance, how can a man, who can barely walk due to back injuries, have enough dexterity to snag a fish out of a running stream?
THE REVENANT is another in a growing list of Hollywood films attempting to draw self-importance by adding extended scenes. It detracts here; causing THE REVENANT to drag and plod along until the final reel, which viewers will know is coming right after the first reel. If not for the excellent cinematography of Lubezki, this one could be skipped.