For the second movie review running the delightful Tom Hardy graces the screen. But The Revenant is a Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle. All plaudits and attention have gone to him. After all the hype, thousands of memes fighting to ensure he bagged an Oscar, the dust has settled. What remains in the cold light of day raises a few problems.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, director and screenwriter, hasn’t done a bad job. Let’s get that out of the way. The criticisms that follow are more down to the burden of the film’s own hype. It’s a visual feast and he has captured the harshness of the environment. At times it is a moving canvas. Sadly, a picture here doesn’t paint a thousand words. It just fills in some time before Leo rolls around in the snow and/or dirt again.
That brings us to the leading man. Before we go on, he didn’t deserve an Academy Award for this performance. Yeah, yeah, he did deserve one on his mantelpiece at some point. But not in this turn. At times the suspension of belief asks too much. At others he mumbles through plot holes. Like, literally.
After being mortally wounded after the famous bear scene (I’m sure you’ve all seen the publicity surrounding it) he is left unable to speak (took a nasty scrape to the throat). But he did manage to muster some words for his son when an emotional scene required it. Then he was silent again for an hour.
He also musters up energy when seconds previous he couldn’t raise an eyebrow. It made me raise mine. Numerous other scenes had the same effect. He fell off a mountain but survived the fall thanks to a tree and then copied Han Solo’s survival techniques from the Empire Strikes Back‘s Hoth scene, a whole 160 years before that movie had made its way to cinema screens.
Pointing fun at the film is the only way to not feel saddened at a missed opportunity.
This could have been a modern day Deliverance. Instead it is a film only powerful at times, at others it is more vacuous than the landscape it is set in.
And like his effort in Legend, Tom Hardy once again has a stellar performance overlooked. Last time it was down to a poor script. This time the story is better, but the focus all wrong.
It’s rating is based on the touching scenes, the moral of connection through adversity, Hardy’s contribution, and the visual delights.