MADE Review: The Revenant

Oscar-winning writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is following up his fantastic work on Birdman with a new dramatic western of love, survival, and revenge titled The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street), Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Will Poulter (We’re The Millers, The Maze Runner), and Forrest Goodluck (Gaming), the film follows a frontiersman who is brutally attacked by a grizzly bear while on an expedition in the 1820s Rockies, and is left for dead by members of his team. Against all odds, he survives the attack and sets out for revenge against the men who killed his son. The story is inspired by true events that appear in the book by author Michael Punke. Inarritu and Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men, Gravity) again deliver excellent camera work on the film, and the cinematography and the scale of the film are truly epic. Leonardo DiCaprio (as usual) delivers an outstanding performance, and equally impressive is that of Tom Hardy, who could easily get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance. In showing the hardship and the struggle that DiCaprio’s character encounters in the wilderness, Inarritu also delivers an impressive display of graphic effects, including an insane mauling by a grizzly bear and a night spent in the innards of a dead horse. The only complaint I can find with the film is that it could have been 15-20 minutes shorter: the middle section of the film, while vividly entertaining, begins to feel a little long. The ending, however, is excellent, leaving the audience with a sense of closure for the story, combined with a sense of wonder surrounding the final fate of the character, a stylistic approach that is all Inarritu. I would definitely recommend seeing The Revenant when it opens in theaters this Friday, January 8, 2016.

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