Film review: THE REVENANT

From Facebook, 10jan16:

Today we went to see THE REVENANT, the film with Leonardo DiCaprio as an 1820s fur trader in the American northwest, mauled by a bear and left for dead by his compatriots, who manages to survive and return to take revenge (specifically against the man who not only left him for dead but murdered his son Hawk). It’s a grueling film, perhaps overshadowed by its publicity (at least among those of us who read the newspapers that cover the Hollywood film industry) — about how Leo did actually endure excruciating months of filming live scenes in harsh conditions, about the mostly CGI bear maul, and mostly about how Leo might finally win an Oscar, after so many nominations and losses. But as I rarely ask after seeing a film — what is the point? There have been many another more literary and insightful stories about revenge, and this film seems to be more of a stunt, by its director and lead actor, seeing how much Leo can endure, seeing how many graphic scenes of Indian attacks with arrows through the throats, or scalpings, or knife fights (as the film eventually resolves), the director can depict, and the audience can endure.

At the same time, it has lovely cinematography, in the sense of having frequent scenes of gorgeous mountain and sky views; some vibrant music by Ryuichi Sakamoto (albeit reminiscent of the ’70s era of electronic scores); and good performances by Domhnall Gleeson and Tom Hardy, who both seem to be in every other film we’ve seen this past year.

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