Reviews with Ray: The Revenant

The Revenant is a visceral period drama that uses, but does not rely on, classic western film tropes to tell a fantastic revenge story.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the mountain man and survivalist, Hugh Glass, a man who has traveled to the edge of the world with his son.

Glass and the group of fur trappers he works with are set on the run from a tribe of Indians early in the film, and things continually get worse for the group until they are forced to make a difficult decision. Glass has to deal with many obstacles, both human and spiritual, but he does not let anything stop him from his goal. The title itself, The Revenant, is defined as a person who returns from the dead.

All of the actors portray their characters beautifully to give the audience a true look at the desperation that people who are forced to live in the wilderness of the expansion era faced.

The filmography of the Revenant is a feast of the eyes. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also directed Birdman and Babble, took a very methodical approach to setting up the shots.

The tight shots of the film serve to highlight the intensity of the characters but it still hides the imminent action just off screen. Some of the surreal scenes in the film pulled viewers out of the experience, but when they were followed by a tight shot, everyone was immediately drawn back in.

The medium shots of the film serve to set up a hierarchy among the characters, while it also allows viewers to determine how the different groups of the film work. The most incredible shots in the movie are the shots that track a character moving through an intense scene. While they continue to pan, tilt and zoom in and out, Iñárritu displays the brutality of battle, the violence of the natural world and the adrenaline of chase.

At some points in the movie the audience is also treated to unbelievable wide aerial shots that display the majestic beauty of the untamed world which serve to transition from one story beat to another. Iñárritu chose to capture the raw beauty of Canada and Argentina in order to find snow to film the end of the movie.

The sound of the movie is additionally a fantastic part of the structure of the setting.

The score of the movie is great, but the folly sound recording and actor audio is worth notice. Most of the movie has very little dialogue. Instead, Iñárritu allows the story to be told through both action and inaction. Grunts and long silent stares serve to characterize the main cast as much as they actually say. The pauses in dialogue also give the audience time to absorb what has happened but it still gives the characters a depth that lacks in most popular media.

The Revenant is a wonderful period piece that has given DiCaprio another chance at an Oscar. The 88 annual Oscars will take place on February 25, 2016.

4.5/5 stars

There is one comment

  1. symphonic1

    Alejandro González Iñárritu- He directed "Babel", not "Babble".
    And please refer to them as Native American's, not "Indians".

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