By Alexandra Boyd, Mutton Club Film Critic
The Revenant review: The Best Western – or should that be Northern? Brrr!!!
What can I tell you about the Revenant that you haven’t already heard? The director was a slave driver. The crew left in droves due to the inhumane conditions. Studio heads hyperventilated as the budget ballooned. Many of these things were said of another other film Leonardo DiCaprio starred in. The one about the boat? Yeah. And that won a gazillion Oscars if you remember.
The five star reviews don’t help (guilty), because then comes the inevitable backlash of “Meh, don’t know what all the fuss is about”. It comes from too much hype, a Golden Globe sweep and fourteen (count them!) Oscar nominations. However, please go and see it. Nothing should take away from the sheer masterly achievement in film making that you will witness. Your jaw will drop to see the feats that Alejandro, Leo, Tom and some of the stunning Brit actors in the cast, have pulled off.
Am I predicting an Oscar haul for The Revenant? ‘Fraid so.
The Revenant is why we go to the cinema. It’s why I want to make films. We love to see human drama played out on an unbelievable scale. We want to say “How did they doooo that?”. Until I saw this film – um three times in the cinema, my friends (hardcore, I know) I thought CAROL was the tip top offering of the year. But that was before I sat through two hours and thirty six minutes of sheer cinematic heaven set in the frozen hell of a 19th century American frontiersman.
A different kettle of beaver pelts all together.
And what else did you read? The bear rapes Leonardo DiCaprio? Whaaaat? It’s a mummy bear protecting her cubs, you sillies. And she does it in a most disturbing one-shot sequence of flawless CGI. Admittedly, I missed most of it until the third viewing because I was hiding behind my coat.
On Leo’s epic journey of revenge and survival, we understand the Law of the Tundra in this huge tale where every man, woman and creature is fighting to survive. We’re plunged headlong into the action from the very first battle that, like the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, will have you gasping for breath. Leo endures freezing temperatures (don’t know how he didn’t catch pneumonia), almost starving to death and septicaemia from his wounds as all the while, Native Americans watch him from the hills in the biggest game of hide and seek you ever saw.
If you haven’t read any reviews – don’t. Don’t read this one! Oops! Too late! Just go and see it. There’s no number of nominations and brilliant or bad reviews can recreate the experience of seeing this film on a big screen. Which, did I mention, I’ve done three times. Three times!
A TV screen will never do for this film what it says on the tin. Everything from the cinematography and Leonardo DiCaprio’s searing performance to Tom Hardy’s villain, that you almost muster some empathy for, to the amazing wildlife and breathtaking landscapes and the desperate plight of the Native Americans.
Could there have been a few more female characters? Of course there could! But then the American Frontier had few women doing what Hugh Glass and his cohorts were doing. I’d have hated more to see a token female character in there to make up the numbers. Part of Glass’ survival tools are the memories of his beautiful Pawnee wife. She helps keep him alive, so that must not be forgotten…
An exquisite sound design and musical score combine wonderfully throughout but never over-inform how we should feel. The music brilliantly leads us to the final frame with a pulsing beat.
Leo deserves the Oscar that was denied him for Wolf of Wall Street. Tom Hardy’s nomination will be one of many to come, but this year is for an accumulation of performances that includes both Kray Twins in Legend and Max in Mad Max. Alejandro G. Inarritu deserves the two biggest Oscars (Best Film and Best Director) for the second year in a row.
Just wait for that backlash.
Shush. Don’t tell anyone. It’s a MASTERPIECE.
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Alexandra Boyd‘s been in the film industry for more than 30 years. She’s passionate about film and the roles women play in film – in front of and behind the camera. She spent ten years as an actress in Hollywood where her film credits include James Cameron’s Titanic, Mr Holland’s Opus and Luc Besson’s From Paris With Love. She returned to the UK, and after a stint on Coronation Street, packed it all in to become a screenwriter and film director. Her award winning short film, Boxer On The Wilderness, is a teaser for a feature about a 1920s Olympic boxer from Hackney Wick. She also raises funds and makes short films for GR8 AS U R, an anti-bullying organisation. Widow’s Walk, a supernatural thriller about a woman who lost her husband in Afghanistan, shooting in 2016, will be her debut feature. www.NewThirtyPictures.com @AlexActWrDir