Review of The Revenant (2015)

Moving picture, 156 minutes

Seen in 2020.

A frontiersman who’s lost almost everything loses everything.

Iñárritu’s and Lubezki’s carefully planned mobile camera is fun and brings a lot of life to the setting. There’s potential in the story, but the poor CGI bear—though it is ILM—takes away every part of the integrity built up through the long takes. Ultimately, the level of concern for the indigenous cultures of what is now the Dakotas is on the level of Tulsa (1949): Though visible and vocal, natives are ultimately secondary, to capitalist glamour in Tulsa and to a hypermasculine quest for retribution against evil in The Revenant. It’s the sort of movie a popular actor might appear in to win an Oscar, and it worked.

moving picture fiction