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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

Broken Glass

Short version: if you haven't already, go see The Revenant. It's the most astonishing cinematic experience you'll have had in years.

Long version (and full disclosure): I went into The Revenant with some trepidation. I had liked Birdman well enough but thought co-writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu's choice of follow-up project was...curious, to say the least. 

After watching the first thirty minutes, my worries were gone. This was bold, gutsy, innovative film-making, the like of which I hadn't seen for some time. 

As a modern cinema audience, we're fully aware of film storytelling works. We understand the filmmakers know how to push our buttons and the cinematic bag of tricks they use to do so. But with this film, Iñárritu doesn't rely on them - he's rewritten the rulebook.

The story at the heart of the film is a simple one. Set in the early 1800s, it's a bloody tale of red in tooth and claw survival and revenge. Leonardo DiCaprio is Hugh Glass, a frontiersman mauled by a bear and left for dead by his companions. DiCaprio then has to literally drag himself through the frozen wilderness to safety, navigating icy-cold rivers and struggling across the barren landscape. It's a powerhouse performance and DiCaprio is utterly convincing.

The Revenant works as both philosophical drama and action movie. It's a personal odyssey and a brutally raw widescreen epic at the same time - Terrence Malick meets Tough Mudder. By the end of its 156 minute running time, you'll feel as exhausted, drained and battered as Hugh Glass. And wanting to go through it all again.