Tuesday, January 12, 2016


I've never quite bought Leonardo DiCaprio in roles where he plays a grown man. I know he is one, obviously, but his boyish qualities always seem to take away from any gravitas grown up roles demand. But in THE REVENANT, he finally accomplishes that for me as he embodies the character of frontiersman Hugh Glass, a real historic figure who had some of the experiences the movie presents (it adds a lot more that isn't true to history) in a way that had me believing even the most outlandish elements of the movie's plot and DiCaprio's character.

That may be because for most of the movie DiCaprio's character has very little to say and a lot of that he says in Pawnee (one of the made-up plot devices is a Pawnee wife and the son they had). But the physicality of his performance—and Alejandro Innaritu's direction—often in obviously real settings that are gorgeous but brutal (I suspect on a small screen it won't have the impact it definitely does on the big one I saw it on) is worth the price of admission.

Is it a great movie? Not enough to outshine more innovative and psychologically nuanced and multi-layered films that deserve being awarded best drama at The Golden Globes, as it was. But it's a great movie experience, unless you can't take graphic violence. I would say it's almost an old fashioned male fantasy movie, except that it isn't all fantasy and there have been movies in recent years that express the same kind of physical endurance and strength and capacity to overcome obstacles in nature that tell the story of female wilderness survivors.

So it's a testament to the triumph of the human will, and in this historic case, for revenge. Also an old fashioned Hollywood adventure-plot motive that is seeing a resurgence. But this film may be the best ever of that genre (at least on the big screen).


janet19 said...

<> Great review, but to be honest, I really can't. Guess I'll have to skip this one. xoxo

AlamedaTom said...

I know this is a belated comment, but you may want to check out the post I just put up on my blog concerning The Revenant.