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The Revenant
BLU-RAY disk
05.10.2016 By: Jason Adams
The Revenant order download
Director:
Alejandro Iñárritu

Actors:
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Domhnall Gleeson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A fur trapper left for dead in the Canadian wilderness must survive long enough to get revenge on the man who killed his son and tried to kill him.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

Innovation is an important part of cinema. However, between BIRDMAN and THE REVENANT, it seems like Alejandro Iñárritu is more interested in the technical aspects of making movies and not so much the storytelling.

THE REVENANT's strong point is undoubtedly its visuals and director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki deserves every accolade and award he received. The cinematography is gorgeous and the film is a marvel from a production standpoint. Filming in real, untouched locations using all natural light gives the movie an almost otherworldly quality that serves the story and transports you back in time in ways that even the best production design can't mimic. The adapted story of Hugh Glass's revenge against those who wronged him is surprisingly simple, but the realism through which it is told makes it no less effective. (There are scenes of violence and survival in this movie that are harder to watch than any horror movie.) However, with all this focus on getting everything technically correct, THE REVENANT somehow makes it harder for you to emotionally connect with the characters or their struggles. Vengeance is an easy concept to sympathize with and this is definitely not a story that should feel hollow and cold.

Newly crowned Oscar-winner Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely very good in the film, but his performance constantly feels like Leonardo DiCaprio acting—and trying really hard to win that Oscar—as opposed to developing and embodying an actual character. THE REVENANT focuses so much on Hugh Glass' suffering that it feels like a series of torturous trials for the actor himself, and not the character. "The guy from TITANIC is climbing in a horse carcass! Now he's eating raw liver even though he's a vegetarian! What will he do next?!" It's a fine line to walk as an actor and, compared to the subtler performances by Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson, it feels like DiCaprio is acting hard as opposed to acting smart.

There's no doubt a ton of talent and work that went in to THE REVENANT and I appreciate it on that level. But if Iñárritu could make movies with scripts and characters as strong as the visual and technological components, he would be an unstoppable force.

THE EXTRAS

A World Unseen (44:05): This 45-minute long feature was actually released on YouTube before the film was released in theaters, so it's a little disappointing that this is the only special feature on the Blu-Ray. It's still a fine chronicling of the film, with lots of glimpses behind the scenes and interviews with actors, crews and more. It does take a few preachy detours in to modern day environmentalism and Native American issues, but given the movie's subject matter it isn't entirely inappropriate.

A Photo Gallery and Digital Copy of the movie are also included.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

While it blows you away with technical artistry, gruesome realism and DiCaprio's often over-the-top performance, THE REVENANT's story just doesn't stay as engaging after the first viewing. It's a shame because it's constantly evident how much work went in to making it. Regardless of how you feel, the Blu Ray is definitely disappointing with only one special feature that you can already find online. Was a commentary track on the production too much to ask for?

Extra Tidbit: After seeing Alejandro Iñárritu constantly belittle the crew, Tom Hardy allegedly choked the director during filming. He then gave the crew T-shirts with the image as a parting gift after production ended.

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+0
3:17PM on 05/10/2016
it's good, but not great. Inarritu's earlier work is far superior, Amores Perros and Bitutiful.
it's good, but not great. Inarritu's earlier work is far superior, Amores Perros and Bitutiful.
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