People were heavily divided by Iñárittu’s last movie, Birdman, with some saying it was a masterpiece and others that it was overrated. When I saw it I didn’t have a strong opinion about it either way. It was quite funny and Edward Norton was great in it, but it was also pretentious and too long.
The Revenant seems to face the same thing from my peers who have spent the time since its release either telling me it’s a masterpiece or that its garbage. Unlike Birdman with this movie I do have a strong opinion and it is that this one is a masterpiece.
Based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a trapper mauled by a bear, left for dead, and forced to hike through the wilderness to get to safety/get revenge, The Revenant contains at least three sequences that are mind-boggingly good. The first ambush, bear attack and final fight are expertly staged, seamlessly shot, and highly visceral. Iñárittu keeps the cuts to a minimum giving you the feeling of being on the ground, in the action, and not a hundred percent safe.
The big talk around this movie is that it could be Leo’s Oscar movie and, though it is great, I don’t want him winning an Oscar just because he ate bison liver. Performance-wise he is his usual outstanding and his haunted, determined Glass is an incredible character, and if the run up to the Oscars focused on that instead of the hardships he endured making the movie I would be more excited by the prospect of him winning.
Overall, a tremendous movie that is full of gorgeous quiet moments and intense bloody violence.