Back to IndieWire

Adrift in the Snow: The Revenant

Adrift in the Snow: The Revenant

relentlessly brutal saga of survival and revenge set in the wintry wilderness
of the American West, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant is an impressive piece of work, but frankly, it left
me cold (pun unavoidable). I can’t deny the impressive physical achievement the
director and his gifted cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, have created under
the most severe conditions imaginable, but I’d rather watch the making-of
documentary than the picture itself.

          Pundits have
been predicting an Academy Award for Leonardo DiCaprio since springtime, and he
doesn’t disappoint, delivering a rugged performance as a native guide that
bespeaks a level of commitment any actor would be proud of. He is matched by an
almost-unrecognizable Tom Hardy (sporting a perfect American accent) as a
conniving trapper. They are completely credible as mortal enemies who will not
give in until the last breath has left their bodies.

          But this
movie begs the question of when the dramatization of an ordeal becomes an
ordeal in itself. There are staggering moments in The Revenant that no one who sees it is likely to forget, but they
come at a price: having to sit through a long, unforgiving narrative that, like
its leading characters, doesn’t know when enough is enough.

          I also have
a serious issue with a key plot point in the film, when an officer played by
Domhnall Gleeson puts his trust in a character who has shown himself to be
unreliable if not downright scummy. Not only does this make no sense, it
undermines the rest of the story.

          I don’t mean to minimize the work
that went into this film, but Oscars shouldn’t be handed out on the basis of an
actor’s (or director’s) endurance skills. Or, for that matter, a moviegoer’s

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Reviews and tagged , , , , , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox