When the first trailer was released for The Revenant, I couldn’t help but think ‘how can this not be the best film of the year?’. It showed off the outstanding talent involved – director Alejandro González Iñárritu, and the intriguing pairing of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, and it was visually stunning, provoking an energetic and visceral feeling, something trailers rarely do. I was familiar with the production issues this film had faced (extensive re-shoots, reports of Iñárritu acting like a diva), but for some reason this didn’t put me off, as sometimes troubled productions can produce great art, something you only need to look at Mad Max: Fury Road to prove.

The Revenant Review
Must… get… to the Oscars…

Based on true events, The Revenant is the story of Hugh Glass, a frontiersman in 1820s, who sets out on a mission to get revenge on the man who killed his son and left him for dead, all of which happens after he is brutally attacked by a bear.

I’ll start with a sentence not many people have said before: I loved the bear attack. It was an incredible sequence, and in the modern age of visual effects, it was a true moment of ‘how the hell did they do that?!’. A lot of this was thanks to DiCaprio, who sold not only this scene, but all of the increasingly horrendous trials and tribulations his character faced, including making raw buffalo meat look delicious. He was however upstaged by Tom Hardy, who was one of the best on screen villains in recent memory, and made the motivations of a truly despicable character seem justified.

The Revenant Review
I promise Tom! You were better! Don’t hurt me please.

The rest of the film wasn’t quite as good as it should’ve been. Yes, every frame looked incredible, and the choice to use only natural lighting definitely payed off, there was just way too much of the film. At 156 minutes long, what this film really needed was somebody from the studio in the editing room, trimming some of the overly long sequences, but having won Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars last year, it’s easy to see why Iñárritu had so much freedom.