I’ve never been much of a movie person but a couple of years ago I decided to change that. I went back and watched must-sees I’d missed, and there were so many that I’m still playing catch up! With the Oscars fast approaching, I thought I’d do myself a favour and watch some of the big nominated movies while they’re still current.
One movie that’s received significant buzz (due to the lengths the production team and actors went to to shoot it) is the wilderness survival film, The Revenant. Leading actor Leonardo Dicaprio apparently had to dive into ice-cold water, crawl inside a dead horse, and eat raw Bison liver! With all this buzz, not to mention the fact that the film has been nominated in 11 different Oscar categories including Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, and Directing, I decided that The Revenant was a good place to start.
A gripping and emotional story about endurance, revenge, and love, The Revenant was inspired by true events and follows Hugh Glass, a fur trapper in the 1820s, as he navigates the beautiful yet harsh and unforgiving American wilderness. On an expedition, Glass is badly injured in a bear attack then deeply betrayed and left for dead by his team. Hungry for revenge, Glass fights against all odds to catch up to the trappers who betrayed him, braving freezing temperatures and rugged terrain, all while evading members of a resentful Native American Tribe.
There were both aspects that I liked and disliked about The Revenant but in the end I couldn’t discount the emotional journey that this movie took me on, and for me, that’s what makes a movie worth watching. From the fade in I was hooked, on the edge of my seat and absorbed into Glass’s story.
What I liked:
- The cinematography. As a Canadian and a nature lover, a northern vista is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me, and there were more than enough of those to go around in The Revenant! I also gave the movie major brownie points for being shot, in part, in Canada. Visually speaking, The Revenant was one of the most breath-taking movies I’ve ever seen. Every frame was like a work of art.
- The portrayal of Native culture and history. The Revenant shed some light on the history of racism and violence toward Native Americans, which is something that I feel deserves attention, especially in our current political climate. The Native American characters were also played by Native American actors, and in an industry that often lacks appropriate representation, this was refreshing.
What I disliked:
- The plot holes. The Revenant sort of jumps right into Glass’s survival story. His back-story is revealed through visions and memories while he fights for his life, but in my opinion, is not entirely flushed out. I know The Revenant is inspired by a limited recount of events that happened long ago, but much of the movie is an embellishment, so I feel like the back-story could have been embellished more. I left the movie feeling like something was missing.
- The blood and violence. I have to confess, I watched parts of The Revenant from between my fingers. I’m not great with gore, and there was quite a bit in this movie. If you’re sensitive like me, consider this your warning.
At the end of the day I enjoyed The Revenant and would recommend that if you haven’t seen it already, add it to your “to watch” list. Leo is amazing in this movie and if he doesn’t suck you in, the cinematography definitely will.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.
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