The Revenant DVD Review

DVD Review by Clayton Barnett

The Premise
Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT captures one man's epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.

The Review
Leo is in Oscar-baiting form in this gory and gorgeous revenge-survival-thriller from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

The talented Mexican picked up gongs for Best Picture, Best Writing and Best Director for the dazzling one-take (ish) wonder of Birdman, and will be nominated again for this sumptuous film. Inarritu and regular cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (who won for Birdman too) chose to shoot only in natural light, and the Canadian and Argentinian wilderness look stunning.

Though Inarritu’s ambition to film in short windows caused a hellish, almost yearlong, shoot, especially with his trademark tracking shots. The results are breathtaking though with the opening bloody battle between trappers and a local tribe captivating caught in a single take. But at over two and a half hours, and with countless graphic scenes, it is a test of endurance.

And it’s not just the notorious bear scene that has you feeling for Leo. He’s put himself through the wringer for this harrowing performance that will definitely get an Oscar nomination, but whether he can break his drought is another story. Essentially it’s a revenge western and not an ‘important’ role that tends to win the Academy’s heart like McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club or Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything. Bring on the memes though.

Leo’s focus for revenge is played brilliantly by chameleon Tom Hardy, and there are great supporting performances from The Force Awakens’ Domhnall Gleeson and Will We’re the Millers Poulter. If it weren’t for some interesting subplots the epic duration would have definitely gone a lot slower.

The Verdict
If you can survive the two-and-a-half hours this revenge thriller is a stunning, and brutal, watch. Let’s see if it’s enough for Oscar glory for Inarritu and Leo.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 18th May 2016
Rating: R16 - Contains graphic violence, sexual violence and content that may disturb
Duration: 156 minutes 
Genre:  Drama, Western
Starring: Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel)

The Extras
Shot chronologically on a 80-days schedule that takes place over a total principal-photography-time-period of 9 months. This unusually long production time is due to the cold weather conditions, the remoteness of the locations and director Alejandro González Iñárritu's and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki's aesthetic plan to shoot only with natural light for maximum realism. Only a few shooting hours are available every day and have to be carefully planned in advance.

Tom Hardy has stated that he doesn't read scripts and at one time was due to star in Splinter Cell (2017), he wanted to play a soldier but Leonardo DiCaprio begged him to read the script for this movie. Hardy read half the script and accepted the role.

Leonardo DiCaprio was originally approached to star in Steve Jobs (2015), but dropped out to do this film instead.

Due to production being behind schedule, the snow melted during the location shoot in Canada before filming was complete. With summer rapidly approaching there was no choice but to relocate the entire production to southern Argentina, where there were similar wintry conditions.

Leonardo DiCaprio, a vegetarian, was so in character he ate real raw meat in a scene depicting Glass surviving off a wild bison's liver.

Reunites Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Lukas Haas. They previously appeared together in Inception (2010).