The Revenant (15)

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 15th January 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

In what is generally a ludicrous film, based on a true story on one man's fight for survival in a frozen wilderness in America in 1820, after being savagely attacked by a bear, the main redeeming feature was the stunning nature-based cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, The Wonder). It was perhaps the best example of this form of cinematography related to nature I have ever viewed on the big screen.

Although CGI was utilised, only natural light was used which sometimes restricted director Inarritu and Lubezki to only being able to do no more than 15 minutes shooting in a day.

Within five minutes a stereotypical scene took place, ever prevalent in old Hollywood westerns, when a band of fur trappers were attacked by a group of red Indians whooping away! As if to emphasise the point of them being 'savages' compared to the white men, later on a Native American is hung from a tree with a sign around his neck describing him as a savage.

After one of the trappers Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is mauled by the bear the nonsensical aspects of the movie kick in.

Left barely able to even speak, due to his traumatic injuries, let alone sit up or walk - he would have died inside an hour through hypothermia - within a couple of days Glass is utterly transformed, being able to survive a drop from a massive roaring waterfall and survive a hundred feet drop onto snow which killed his horse.

Even more nonsensical was his ability to create lit wooden fires to keep him warm in the open without any means of doing so, once he lost his flint stone and another implement, when he dived into a surging river to escape Indians.

The hard to believe factors pop up again when he de-gutted a dead horse, takes all his clothes off and climbs inside the animal to survive a bitterly cold night, minus 40 degrees centigrade. In the morning he climbs out of the horse and puts on his clothes, which were rain drenched and frozen as if they were bone dry!

Overall The Revenant featured too many one-dimensional characters and dialogue, with the soundtrack music composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Nijo and Bryce Dessner bordering on the bland. Dark tinged ambient music would have given the film, despite its many failings, more edge.

The Revenant is the latest to join the Hollywood Hokum list of films!

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