This is one of those very intense movies (like Prisoners) which you appreciate but you can’t watch it more than once.
The story tells about a struggle of a frontiersman who was critically injured in a bear attack and left alone to die by his hunting team. Shot in a backdrop of Dakotas of the 1820s with freezing winters, his struggle is not just to survive it but also avenge the murder of his son by one of his own team members. And all of this in the middle of escaping other hostile enemy teams. While the story is inspired by Mark Smith’s novel of the same name, it is the screenplay that has projected the grief and pain (emotional as well as physical) of Hugh Glass, the protagonist played by Di Caprio, beautifully.
While Di Caprio is the lead actor, I am not sure if I would count this as one of his best performances. He has done his usual good but I felt it was Tom Hardy who walked away with the movie with his brilliant projection of the nemesis, John Fitzgerald. His expressions, dialog delivery, and voice modulation were impeccable, something which reminded me of Warrior (I haven’t watched Mad Max Fury yet!). Unfortunately, besides these two, others have hardly received any dedicated screen time.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu has brought the best of his work in this movie. I haven’t watched any of his earlier movies but given the ratings, he has been consistent and he, perhaps, needed this one amazing movie that would establish himself among the elites. In Revenant, his knowledge around making the best use of camera work, shooting the bear attack sequence, projecting Glass’ grief which watching his son die, conceptualizing some of the scenes which seem too good to be true and modulating the intensity of the movie has helped to create an amazing piece of motion picture. However, his pacing the movie went for a toss and an overstretched climax is the last thing you would want in such a dark movie. I would have loved it to be a 2 hour 10-15minutes movie instead of full 2.5 hours. Also, he seems to have gone overboard in showing Glass critically injured to the extent that one feels that it didn’t make any sense for his team to keep him alive, let alone for him to survive the biting chills of the North.
Overall, one must watch Revenant for the intense story and Tom Hardy.