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The Revenant Is A Dish Best Served Cold (Movie Review)

The RevenantThe Revenant is billed as a Western thriller.  Normally I’m not one at all for a Western (unless it’s a Tarantino), but you throw the word “thriller” in there and I’m all over it.  Add to the fact that the critics and media are saying this is finally going to be the one for Leonardo DiCaprio (despite his limited vocabulary here) and once again I’m there.  Now listen closely as this third bullet point is the one that really got my sweet behind in the theater seat last month for this one.  “They” (the powers that be) said the brutality in this one is out of this world, and I said oh snap, count me in!  There’s obviously much more to factually discuss here, but now you at least know what appeals to me (and knowing is half the battle).  The question to tackle now is whether or not The Revenant will appeal to you.  Let’s get started!

The Revenant is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu from a screenplay written by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu.  The story is based on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel of the same name.  Some may also call this a remake of the 1971 historical film Man in the Wilderness.  It is supposedly inspired by the real life of frontiersman Hugh Glass (1780–1833).  The film obviously stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, but you’re also treated to the household likes of Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson.  This movie previously seen only a limited theatrical release in the United States on December 25th last year (thus making it eligible for the 88th Academy Awards), but the rest of the world will be able to experience The Revenant on January 8th.  Now let’s chat in regards to what it’s all about.

The Revenant

Our story takes place in the 1820’s and introduces us to fur trapper Hugh Glass (DiCaprio).  He is brutally attacked by a bear while scouting for an expedition.  Things get rather grizzly for him.  Get it?  Grizzly?  Haha.  So anyway his companions (one of them being John Fitzgerald played by Hardy) rob him and basically leave him to die.  Fitzgerald also does something very bad to one of Hugh’s family members.  This was all it took to motivate Hugh.  Like Adonis Creed in Creed, Hugh snaps back to life and sets out on a very painful 200-mile trek to extract his revenge.  Sounds like a winner huh?  For some reason, just reading what I wrote summary-wise here kind of reminds me of one of my favorite Mel Gibson movies, The Patriot, but I digress.

So I used the word grizzly up above on purpose.  The Revenant is a very brutal film to take in no thanks to that pesky bear and all the other unbelievable obstacles that our main protagonist must endure and ultimately overcome to seek out his vengeance.  With that being said, The Revenant is not for the faint of heart nor should you expect to eat during it.  There are many gory moments that transpire throughout that even I had to turn away from and I love blood, gore and violence in my movies.  However, don’t let that deter you.  The Revenant is one of 2015’s finest.  I’ll tell you why down below, but for now I have a bear raping story for you.

The Revenant

I have been teased relentlessly about this, but when I told a co-worker I was attending an advance screening of this film way back in December he asked me point blank, would I rather be the guy or the bear.  Seriously, I had to think about this from both sides.  Let me preface this by saying this was around the time last year where they were saying Leo’s character gets raped by a bear.  He doesn’t, but hot dammit I can honestly see why people would say he does the way that bear flips him over and goes to work on him from behind, but I digress.  So because of my hesitation of how to answer this question that was posed to me I have been teased mercilessly ever since.  Just so you know the correct answer is the bear because they’re not human and sex doesn’t have to be consensual.  Got it?  Haha.  I’m kidding though.  Leo does not get raped by a bear.  He gets completely mauled by it.

Brandon Peters once reviewed a little known revenge flick called Blue Ruin here.  I call your attention to that film because it’s raw, visceral and sloppy.  Real revenge is not always meticulously thought out, planned and flawlessly executed.  Real revenge is messy.  That’s where a film like Blue Ruin excels and so does The Revenant.  The latter may have the benefit of a bigger budget, star power and what not, but make no mistake about it.  The Revenant‘s journey is every bit as relentless and aloof as the low budget title of Blue Ruin and I love it so much for that.  It’s not a straight, perfect line, it’s a sloppy one albeit an artistic one too.  The challenges and unbelievable obstacles that Leo’s character must overcome just to get each mile closer to extracting his revenge is simply amazing.  If this really is the truth, then it could be one of the most remarkable stories ever told as I don’t know about you, but after seeing everything that Leo’s character has to endure here, I’d be dead a long time ago.

The Revenant

So yes, the story is impressive, but equally magnificent is the acting too.  Make no mistakes about it, The Revenant is an Oscar vehicle for Leo.  If he doesn’t win Best Actor for this role next year, then quite frankly I don’t think he’s ever going to win.  Tom Hardy wears the protagonist clothes perfectly as even my girlfriend said bravo to the filmmakers who managed to make Hardy look undesirable and unattractive to her.  If you knew her like I did, then you would know what a huge compliment that is to Tom Hardy throughout here.  Both men, not to mention the familiar faces of the some of the supporting cast (think the don’t go chasing waterfalls kid from We’re The Millers) made this 2.5 hour long movie feel like 90-minutes long.  I had zero issues with its runtime despite initial reservations.  In fact, I could have easily spent at least another hour in this universe as Leo’s plight made this one of the most interesting and challenging (from a gross out perspective as well as storytelling too) watches of the year.  And for anyone saying that Leo only mutters 14 English lines, do you believe everything people say?  Get over it!  That’s not the case.  Leo’s character is bilingual!

The Revenant

There are some artsy moments here and there told through flashbacks, dream sequences, what have you, and the cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) looks equally incredible coming from the same Birdman team of last year, but I guess all in all I have never seen a more artful, poppy, raw tale of revenge on the mainstream big screen in recent years than The Revenant.  That’s why from me it deserves a perfect score and from you it deserves a ticket purchase with no questions asked.  Just let the theaters take your money with no consideration.  The Revenant is so worth it!  It’s an emotional tale of love (lost and current), survival (think against all odds) and of course, the dish best served cold…R-E-V-E-N-G-E.

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And the Oscar for Best Actor goes to….

Leo in

THE REVENANT

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The Revenant Movie Poster

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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