The Revenant

Style over substance


The Revenant

  • Style over substance

The Revenant

  • Style over substance


Rated

R

Starring

Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Domhnall Gleeson
Will Poulter

Written by

Mark L. Smith
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Michael Punke (novel)

Directed by

Alejandro González Iñárritu



What to Expect

It’s very difficult to set expectations from The Revenant, except for when the title of Academy Award winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) comes to fore. Pair that up with the regular updates of this being DiCaprio’s most arresting performance yet, and the movie does have some standard viewers could expect from it.

But does it fulfill its promise? That’s the question.

What’s it About?

Hugh Glass is left for dead; his son killed. Battered, bruised and screaming for survival, Glass must make his journey back to follow his only path to redemption – revenge.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In search of redemption

In search of redemption

The immediate reaction of the more discerning viewer to the film’s first montage-driven scene would be just how strikingly similar the form of the narrative’s craft is to Terrence Malick’s (Badlands) — right down to the distinct quiet in sound design and Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice-over supporting the lending of Lubezki’s visual cinematic language to screenwriters Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu’s source material. The problem with The Revenant, however is that Iñárritu possesses neither of Malick’s (seemingly) three rules of visual meditation — inner spirituality, human organicity and unpretentiousness.

Let me demonstrate: every form of film craft needs justification. Malick’s justification to his abstractness is his personality; his innermost feelings. His films may result in a hue-and-cry against what viewers would want to bracket into as an act of pretentiousness. But to then justify his products would be to understand what pretentiousness means. (The word, in essence, when stripped down to the bare minimum of the language, can be defined as an act of pretending to provide more — in talent or information — than is already the case.) Malick’s abstractness still has an immense amount of personality; they depict a soul’s constant search of a destination.

The problem with Iñárritu, of course, is that the personality gets stripped down in favor of a complete desperation to beat into his viewers his (admittedly extensive) knowledge of technique. “And all of this is technique sans artistry”, good friend Bill stated in a post-movie conversation. “[Iñárritu] understands technique”, he added, “but doesn’t know how to utilize it to its maximum effect.” I couldn’t agree more. One must understand how Lubezki’s work shows with Malick and Alfonso Cuarón. Where Children of Men or To The Wonder understood rhythm and visual narrative like words understand poetry, Lubezki’s cinematography for The Revenant, while masterful, doesn’t come across as more than simply a bunch of gorgeously framed shots without appropriate direction.

Fear

Fear

And if that doesn’t clarify itself, let’s talk about the overt usage of the “one-take”. The technique may have been functional enough for the entirety of Birdman, if only for its conceit. However, what worked then couldn’t possibly work in all films. The technique needs the art of being invisible for the sake of immersion. Its redundancy gives visibility to the how of the scenes more than the what. Those who understand film craft will easily see through it the very first time round, and the scenes will easily lose their sheen and charm in the coming minutes. Sure, one can argue that the movie is also made for audiences who may not have added the entirety of film production to their knowledge. But isn’t one supposed to be ambitious enough to envelop even the keenest of those knowledgable in their film? This then somewhat slips on Iñárritu’s ambition to make the film any realistic.

(Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely respect the amount of hard work the cast and crew were presented with when they decided to shoot the film in grueling conditions, but at a certain point of time, if the screenplay’s gotten too convenient, it doesn’t make sense.)

Smith, whose source material is a mixture of true events and Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, may not have been the best screenwriter for the job — his last half-decent film was the horror film The Hole, the imperfections of which had self-awareness to make up for. Here, however, the logical inconsistencies in the screenplay don’t have enough self-awareness for the audience to let them go off so easily. (But it’s a movie, some people will argue. Sure, except we’re presented with brutal reality here, and that doesn’t seem to work when the makers include outrageous reasons for humans to live, when they’re clearly on the brink of death). Additionally, one needs emotion to drive empathy into viewers; the emotion isn’t present.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Revenge

Revenge

There are four primary actors in the film. Viewers are presented with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter — of these, DiCaprio, Gleeson and Poulter impress, and Hardy’s try-too-hard is just not worth expanding on. He’s definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the film, especially considering he has the art of making every character come alive.

However, it is DiCaprio whose sincerity bowls you over. Sure, his character may not have organic emotion written for him, but the hard work on display is commendable, and one needs to be respectful of the work he’s done to be a part of the assigned role. Domhnall Gleeson and Poulter are decent, and provide very good support.

Worth it?

Yes, I come with a complete understanding of the film’s creation. The hard work and the decision to stubbornly stick to realism in filmmaking is an extremely respectable. The film, however, needs viewers to drive empathy into viewers, if it doesn’t manage to fascinate completely. And this is where it falters, depending more on the technique than the journey and the core emotion. Sure, cinematography students will learn an absolute lot from the movie, due primarily to Lubezki’s stellar talent. That very talent, however, needs utilization more than just additive gimmickry.

A friend of mine was shocked that I couldn’t get myself to like the film, and I could only state, “I went to the cinema to watch a film. I came out having watched a showreel of cinematography and film technique”. There was nothing more to say about it than that the director’s current attempt is what could possibly truly define what pretentiousness means. And I guess this is where the viewers will be divided. The fascination of its style (and its creation’s surrounding harsh realism) will drive people to appreciate the film. Those who will have seen through the director’s game, however, will see nothing but a revenge thriller driven by pure gimmickry and the presence of way too many Malick-isms to forgive the makers.

Watch it. You probably never know how much you’ll like it or hate it. But to call it flawless would probably be shooting your praise a bit too far, because — considering the film’s failure to immerse this writer into its world — the film is as hollow and flawed as it gets.

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us


Rated

R

Starring

Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Domhnall Gleeson
Will Poulter

Written by

Mark L. Smith
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Michael Punke (novel)

Directed by

Alejandro González Iñárritu



What to Expect

It’s very difficult to set expectations from The Revenant, except for when the title of Academy Award winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) comes to fore. Pair that up with the regular updates of this being DiCaprio’s most arresting performance yet, and the movie does have some standard viewers could expect from it.

But does it fulfill its promise? That’s the question.

What’s it About?

Hugh Glass is left for dead; his son killed. Battered, bruised and screaming for survival, Glass must make his journey back to follow his only path to redemption – revenge.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In search of redemption

In search of redemption

The immediate reaction of the more discerning viewer to the film’s first montage-driven scene would be just how strikingly similar the form of the narrative’s craft is to Terrence Malick’s (Badlands) — right down to the distinct quiet in sound design and Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice-over supporting the lending of Lubezki’s visual cinematic language to screenwriters Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu’s source material. The problem with The Revenant, however is that Iñárritu possesses neither of Malick’s (seemingly) three rules of visual meditation — inner spirituality, human organicity and unpretentiousness.

Let me demonstrate: every form of film craft needs justification. Malick’s justification to his abstractness is his personality; his innermost feelings. His films may result in a hue-and-cry against what viewers would want to bracket into as an act of pretentiousness. But to then justify his products would be to understand what pretentiousness means. (The word, in essence, when stripped down to the bare minimum of the language, can be defined as an act of pretending to provide more — in talent or information — than is already the case.) Malick’s abstractness still has an immense amount of personality; they depict a soul’s constant search of a destination.

The problem with Iñárritu, of course, is that the personality gets stripped down in favor of a complete desperation to beat into his viewers his (admittedly extensive) knowledge of technique. “And all of this is technique sans artistry”, good friend Bill stated in a post-movie conversation. “[Iñárritu] understands technique”, he added, “but doesn’t know how to utilize it to its maximum effect.” I couldn’t agree more. One must understand how Lubezki’s work shows with Malick and Alfonso Cuarón. Where Children of Men or To The Wonder understood rhythm and visual narrative like words understand poetry, Lubezki’s cinematography for The Revenant, while masterful, doesn’t come across as more than simply a bunch of gorgeously framed shots without appropriate direction.

Fear

Fear

And if that doesn’t clarify itself, let’s talk about the overt usage of the “one-take”. The technique may have been functional enough for the entirety of Birdman, if only for its conceit. However, what worked then couldn’t possibly work in all films. The technique needs the art of being invisible for the sake of immersion. Its redundancy gives visibility to the how of the scenes more than the what. Those who understand film craft will easily see through it the very first time round, and the scenes will easily lose their sheen and charm in the coming minutes. Sure, one can argue that the movie is also made for audiences who may not have added the entirety of film production to their knowledge. But isn’t one supposed to be ambitious enough to envelop even the keenest of those knowledgable in their film? This then somewhat slips on Iñárritu’s ambition to make the film any realistic.

(Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely respect the amount of hard work the cast and crew were presented with when they decided to shoot the film in grueling conditions, but at a certain point of time, if the screenplay’s gotten too convenient, it doesn’t make sense.)

Smith, whose source material is a mixture of true events and Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, may not have been the best screenwriter for the job — his last half-decent film was the horror film The Hole, the imperfections of which had self-awareness to make up for. Here, however, the logical inconsistencies in the screenplay don’t have enough self-awareness for the audience to let them go off so easily. (But it’s a movie, some people will argue. Sure, except we’re presented with brutal reality here, and that doesn’t seem to work when the makers include outrageous reasons for humans to live, when they’re clearly on the brink of death). Additionally, one needs emotion to drive empathy into viewers; the emotion isn’t present.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Revenge

Revenge

There are four primary actors in the film. Viewers are presented with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter — of these, DiCaprio, Gleeson and Poulter impress, and Hardy’s try-too-hard is just not worth expanding on. He’s definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the film, especially considering he has the art of making every character come alive.

However, it is DiCaprio whose sincerity bowls you over. Sure, his character may not have organic emotion written for him, but the hard work on display is commendable, and one needs to be respectful of the work he’s done to be a part of the assigned role. Domhnall Gleeson and Poulter are decent, and provide very good support.

Worth it?

Yes, I come with a complete understanding of the film’s creation. The hard work and the decision to stubbornly stick to realism in filmmaking is an extremely respectable. The film, however, needs viewers to drive empathy into viewers, if it doesn’t manage to fascinate completely. And this is where it falters, depending more on the technique than the journey and the core emotion. Sure, cinematography students will learn an absolute lot from the movie, due primarily to Lubezki’s stellar talent. That very talent, however, needs utilization more than just additive gimmickry.

A friend of mine was shocked that I couldn’t get myself to like the film, and I could only state, “I went to the cinema to watch a film. I came out having watched a showreel of cinematography and film technique”. There was nothing more to say about it than that the director’s current attempt is what could possibly truly define what pretentiousness means. And I guess this is where the viewers will be divided. The fascination of its style (and its creation’s surrounding harsh realism) will drive people to appreciate the film. Those who will have seen through the director’s game, however, will see nothing but a revenge thriller driven by pure gimmickry and the presence of way too many Malick-isms to forgive the makers.

Watch it. You probably never know how much you’ll like it or hate it. But to call it flawless would probably be shooting your praise a bit too far, because — considering the film’s failure to immerse this writer into its world — the film is as hollow and flawed as it gets.

Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like UsFollow Us

Cast Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Domhnall Gleeson
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu
Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!

What to Expect

Bleakness

Bleakness

It’s very difficult to set expectations from The Revenant, except for when the title of Academy Award winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) comes to fore. Pair that up with the regular updates of this being DiCaprio’s most arresting performance yet, and the movie does have some standard viewers could expect from it.

But does it fulfill its promise? That’s the question.

What’s it About?

Hugh Glass is left for dead; his son killed. Battered, bruised and screaming for survival, Glass must make his journey back to follow his only path to redemption – revenge.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In search of redemption

In search of redemption

The immediate reaction of the more discerning viewer to the film’s first montage-driven scene would be just how strikingly similar the form of the narrative’s craft is to Terrence Malick’s (Badlands) — right down to the distinct quiet in sound design and Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice-over supporting the lending of Lubezki’s visual cinematic language to screenwriters Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu’s source material. The problem with The Revenant, however is that Iñárritu possesses neither of Malick’s (seemingly) three rules of visual meditation — inner spirituality, human organicity and unpretentiousness.

Let me demonstrate: every form of film craft needs justification. Malick’s justification to his abstractness is his personality; his innermost feelings. His films may result in a hue-and-cry against what viewers would want to bracket into as an act of pretentiousness. But to then justify his products would be to understand what pretentiousness means. (The word, in essence, when stripped down to the bare minimum of the language, can be defined as an act of pretending to provide more — in talent or information — than is already the case.) Malick’s abstractness still has an immense amount of personality; they depict a soul’s constant search of a destination.

The problem with Iñárritu, of course, is that the personality gets stripped down in favor of a complete desperation to beat into his viewers his (admittedly extensive) knowledge of technique. “And all of this is technique sans artistry”, good friend Bill stated in a post-movie conversation. “[Iñárritu] understands technique”, he added, “but doesn’t know how to utilize it to its maximum effect.” I couldn’t agree more. One must understand how Lubezki’s work shows with Malick and Alfonso Cuarón. Where Children of Men or To The Wonder understood rhythm and visual narrative like words understand poetry, Lubezki’s cinematography for The Revenant, while masterful, doesn’t come across as more than simply a bunch of gorgeously framed shots without appropriate direction.

Fear

Fear

And if that doesn’t clarify itself, let’s talk about the overt usage of the “one-take”. The technique may have been functional enough for the entirety of Birdman, if only for its conceit. However, what worked then couldn’t possibly work in all films. The technique needs the art of being invisible for the sake of immersion. Its redundancy gives visibility to the how of the scenes more than the what. Those who understand film craft will easily see through it the very first time round, and the scenes will easily lose their sheen and charm in the coming minutes. Sure, one can argue that the movie is also made for audiences who may not have added the entirety of film production to their knowledge. But isn’t one supposed to be ambitious enough to envelop even the keenest of those knowledgable in their film? This then somewhat slips on Iñárritu’s ambition to make the film any realistic.

(Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely respect the amount of hard work the cast and crew were presented with when they decided to shoot the film in grueling conditions, but at a certain point of time, if the screenplay’s gotten too convenient, it doesn’t make sense.)

Smith, whose source material is a mixture of true events and Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, may not have been the best screenwriter for the job — his last half-decent film was the horror film The Hole, the imperfections of which had self-awareness to make up for. Here, however, the logical inconsistencies in the screenplay don’t have enough self-awareness for the audience to let them go off so easily. (But it’s a movie, some people will argue. Sure, except we’re presented with brutal reality here, and that doesn’t seem to work when the makers include outrageous reasons for humans to live, when they’re clearly on the brink of death). Additionally, one needs emotion to drive empathy into viewers; the emotion isn’t present.

To Perform or Not to Perform

Revenge

Revenge

There are four primary actors in the film. Viewers are presented with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter — of these, DiCaprio, Gleeson and Poulter impress, and Hardy’s try-too-hard is just not worth expanding on. He’s definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the film, especially considering he has the art of making every character come alive.

However, it is DiCaprio whose sincerity bowls you over. Sure, his character may not have organic emotion written for him, but the hard work on display is commendable, and one needs to be respectful of the work he’s done to be a part of the assigned role. Domhnall Gleeson and Poulter are decent, and provide very good support.

Worth it?

Yes, I come with a complete understanding of the film’s creation. The hard work and the decision to stubbornly stick to realism in filmmaking is an extremely respectable. The film, however, needs viewers to drive empathy into viewers, if it doesn’t manage to fascinate completely. And this is where it falters, depending more on the technique than the journey and the core emotion. Sure, cinematography students will learn an absolute lot from the movie, due primarily to Lubezki’s stellar talent. That very talent, however, needs utilization more than just additive gimmickry.

A friend of mine was shocked that I couldn’t get myself to like the film, and I could only state, “I went to the cinema to watch a film. I came out having watched a showreel of cinematography and film technique”. There was nothing more to say about it than that the director’s current attempt is what could possibly truly define what pretentiousness means. And I guess this is where the viewers will be divided. The fascination of its style (and its creation’s surrounding harsh realism) will drive people to appreciate the film. Those who will have seen through the director’s game, however, will see nothing but a revenge thriller driven by pure gimmickry and the presence of way too many Malick-isms to forgive the makers.

Watch it. You probably never know how much you’ll like it or hate it. But to call it flawless would probably be shooting your praise a bit too far, because — considering the film’s failure to immerse this writer into its world — the film is as hollow and flawed as it gets.

What to Expect

What’s it About?

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

To Perform or Not to Perform

Worth it?

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

We’re viral

Like usFollow us
Cast Leonardo DiCaprio
Tom Hardy
Domhnall Gleeson
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu
Consensus: 2 Stars
Meh!

What to Expect

It’s very difficult to set expectations from The Revenant, except for when the title of Academy Award winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) comes to fore. Pair that up with the regular updates of this being DiCaprio’s most arresting performance yet, and the movie does have some standard viewers could expect from it.

But does it fulfill its promise? That’s the question.

What’s it About?

Hugh Glass is left for dead; his son killed. Battered, bruised and screaming for survival, Glass must make his journey back to follow his only path to redemption – revenge.

In search of redemption

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The immediate reaction of the more discerning viewer to the film’s first montage-driven scene would be just how strikingly similar the form of the narrative’s craft is to Terrence Malick’s (Badlands) — right down to the distinct quiet in sound design and Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice-over supporting the lending of Lubezki’s visual cinematic language to screenwriters Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu’s source material. The problem with The Revenant, however is that Iñárritu possesses neither of Malick’s (seemingly) three rules of visual meditation — inner spirituality, human organicity and unpretentiousness.

Let me demonstrate: every form of film craft needs justification. Malick’s justification to his abstractness is his personality; his innermost feelings. His films may result in a hue-and-cry against what viewers would want to bracket into as an act of pretentiousness. But to then justify his products would be to understand what pretentiousness means. (The word, in essence, when stripped down to the bare minimum of the language, can be defined as an act of pretending to provide more — in talent or information — than is already the case.) Malick’s abstractness still has an immense amount of personality; they depict a soul’s constant search of a destination.

The problem with Iñárritu, of course, is that the personality gets stripped down in favor of a complete desperation to beat into his viewers his (admittedly extensive) knowledge of technique. “And all of this is technique sans artistry”, good friend Bill stated in a post-movie conversation. “[Iñárritu] understands technique”, he added, “but doesn’t know how to utilize it to its maximum effect.” I couldn’t agree more. One must understand how Lubezki’s work shows with Malick and Alfonso Cuarón. Where Children of Men or To The Wonder understood rhythm and visual narrative like words understand poetry, Lubezki’s cinematography for The Revenant, while masterful, doesn’t come across as more than simply a bunch of gorgeously framed shots without appropriate direction.

Fear

And if that doesn’t clarify itself, let’s talk about the overt usage of the “one-take”. The technique may have been functional enough for the entirety of Birdman, if only for its conceit. However, what worked then couldn’t possibly work in all films. The technique needs the art of being invisible for the sake of immersion. Its redundancy gives visibility to the how of the scenes more than the what. Those who understand film craft will easily see through it the very first time round, and the scenes will easily lose their sheen and charm in the coming minutes. Sure, one can argue that the movie is also made for audiences who may not have added the entirety of film production to their knowledge. But isn’t one supposed to be ambitious enough to envelop even the keenest of those knowledgable in their film? This then somewhat slips on Iñárritu’s ambition to make the film any realistic.

(Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely respect the amount of hard work the cast and crew were presented with when they decided to shoot the film in grueling conditions, but at a certain point of time, if the screenplay’s gotten too convenient, it doesn’t make sense.)

Smith, whose source material is a mixture of true events and Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, may not have been the best screenwriter for the job — his last half-decent film was the horror film The Hole, the imperfections of which had self-awareness to make up for. Here, however, the logical inconsistencies in the screenplay don’t have enough self-awareness for the audience to let them go off so easily. (But it’s a movie, some people will argue. Sure, except we’re presented with brutal reality here, and that doesn’t seem to work when the makers include outrageous reasons for humans to live, when they’re clearly on the brink of death). Additionally, one needs emotion to drive empathy into viewers; the emotion isn’t present.

Revenge

To Perform or Not to Perform

There are four primary actors in the film. Viewers are presented with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter — of these, DiCaprio, Gleeson and Poulter impress, and Hardy’s try-too-hard is just not worth expanding on. He’s definitely one of the biggest disappointments of the film, especially considering he has the art of making every character come alive.

However, it is DiCaprio whose sincerity bowls you over. Sure, his character may not have organic emotion written for him, but the hard work on display is commendable, and one needs to be respectful of the work he’s done to be a part of the assigned role. Domhnall Gleeson and Poulter are decent, and provide very good support.

Worth it?

Yes, I come with a complete understanding of the film’s creation. The hard work and the decision to stubbornly stick to realism in filmmaking is an extremely respectable. The film, however, needs viewers to drive empathy into viewers, if it doesn’t manage to fascinate completely. And this is where it falters, depending more on the technique than the journey and the core emotion. Sure, cinematography students will learn an absolute lot from the movie, due primarily to Lubezki’s stellar talent. That very talent, however, needs utilization more than just additive gimmickry.

A friend of mine was shocked that I couldn’t get myself to like the film, and I could only state, “I went to the cinema to watch a film. I came out having watched a showreel of cinematography and film technique”. There was nothing more to say about it than that the director’s current attempt is what could possibly truly define what pretentiousness means. And I guess this is where the viewers will be divided. The fascination of its style (and its creation’s surrounding harsh realism) will drive people to appreciate the film. Those who will have seen through the director’s game, however, will see nothing but a revenge thriller driven by pure gimmickry and the presence of way too many Malick-isms to forgive the makers.

Watch it. You probably never know how much you’ll like it or hate it. But to call it flawless would probably be shooting your praise a bit too far, because — considering the film’s failure to immerse this writer into its world — the film is as hollow and flawed as it gets.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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