I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I done it already.
The Revenant is another full-on masterpiece from Inarritu. Following up Birdman with a film that couldn’t be any more different, Inarritu crafts a terrifying, gripping, visceral story of survival, tragedy, madness and revenge. As the fur trapper struggling to survive after being left to die in the wilderness, Leonardo DiCaprio gives a performance of full and total commitment; he’s wordless for long, long stretches of the movie, but he’s unbearably compelling at times. Tom Hardy is every bit his equal, if not even a bit better, as the villain of the piece, the psychopathic trapper that betrays DiCaprio’s character. He’s as scary as he’s ever been and he absolutely disappears behind the makeup and wig and mush-mouth accent. Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson are also both far better in their roles than you might expect them to be. The supporting players could easily coast in this movie, leaving the heavy acting lifting to Hardy and DiCaprio, but Poulter and Gleeson refuse to do it and their scenes are excellent. Inarritu’s direction is nothing short of astounding. Along with Lubezki on cinematography duties, Inarritu’s eye creates a world that couldn’t be more vivid or visceral or strange. The visuals here harsh and beautiful. The word “atmospheric” gets thrown around way too often, but if ever a movie deserved the word, this one does. The score is by the always brilliant Ryuchi Sakamoto and it’s another masterpiece, dread-soaked, minimal, strange, utterly gripping. The story is gripping and emotionally evocative; it’s a movie filled with some of the purest emotion of the year and the climax of the story is brutal, grim and beautiful. It’s a film so packed with gorgeous visuals and scenes and performance moments that it would be absurd to even attempt to discuss them: virtually every scene is a mini-movie, a tiny cinematic masterpiece buried inside this larger one. It’s harrowing, beautiful, gripping, unstoppable, powerful, intense, heart-breaking, a movie you can’t look away from for its entire, quite substantial, running time. Wow. Just wow. 4 stars.
tl;dr – visceral, brutal, beautiful movie boasts astounding visuals, a compelling story, genuinely great performances; as atmospheric and transporting as movies get. 4 stars.