The revenge tale must produce substantial and compelling arguments for an audience to believe the motivations of the protagonist justifiable, if not understandable. What transpires in the 1st act of the story should sway the audience to empathy for the character who has endured some injustice. We must agree that what has occurred is terrible to the point revenge feels appropriate, almost necessary and we side with the hero, as tragic as their story might be. “The Revenant” makes a compelling case for revenge and does so with the most beautiful locations I’ve seen on film this year.
I’ll first address the more popular topic as of late, which is, Leonardo DiCaprio deserving an oscar for his performance in this film. His character doesn’t speak much which creates a certain challenge for the actor. You must tell the story using expressions and gestures, only. While the close ups on his face certainly helped create dramatic tension throughout the 2nd and 3rd act of the film I wasn’t completely sold. There was something in Leo’s eyes that didn’t match his facial expressions. His eyes seemed to calm while his face expressed angst, fear, rage, thought and more. This normally wouldn’t be an issue and it might feel like I’m just being overly critical. I’m not and the reason why is simple to explain. The close ups on his face occurred too frequently. If the basis of the story revolved around more shots that were a few steps back from his face I feel his performance would’ve carried so much more emotional believability. There was intense dramatic scenes showing Leo performing at his best, then close up on his face to see calm eyes on what should be anything but calm. It was my only critique for Leo and it’s remedied by simply zooming out to show his entire character, not just his face.
The rest of the cast was equally compelling and each one had a specific story they were trying to tell throughout this film. At one point the film breaks away from linear story telling and jumps around between the characters and their struggles. Eventually the story all ties together and everything makes sense. There was a nice balance between how quickly the story moves for Leo and the more involved, character developing, story of Tom Hardy and the individuals partaking in his share of the film. Overall, the characters were believable and entertaining. They elevated an already intriguing story into a well paced, revenge fueled, wilderness adventure. The time flew by in this film and the two plus hours of screen time was not noticeable.
“The Revenant” is in theaters now! I give these film enough muskets and ammunition to kill any grizzly bear deep in the forest. This film is worth the big screen viewing and worth the price of admission into the theater. The film used all natural light and it’s truly beautiful on the big screen seeing life as it is, not as it’s being created to appear. It’s graphic, it’s violent, it’s scenic and it’s told well. This film is cinematic which is a relief considering the medium used to tell the tale. I enjoyed this film and I recommend everyone who has at least 3 free hours and a passion for movies see it on the big screen.
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