Moments of sheer beauty and raw brutality, but they’re simply not enough to make a great movie; let alone a film that’s 8 hours long (it is 8 hours long, right?).
Ok so it’s only a little over 2 and a half hours, but boy does it feel like a whole lot more thanks to its minimal story. There’s nothing wrong with making a film that’s lighter on plot than your typical Christopher Nolan thriller, but the film’s running time should reflect that. The opening skirmish is great, as is the final fracas, but everything else is drawn out almost to the point of ridicule. What’s even more frustrating is that what little story there is, isn’t competently told. There’s no driving force to the film that leaves you feeling unsure of where the story is going next, but also arrives at what you instinctively feel is the right. Instead, The Revenant sticks with Hugh Glass (Leonardo di Caprio) as he grunts and slides his way across the wilderness, occasionally looking in on other supporting characters if only to remind us of their existence for when their paths overlap with Glass’ once more.
Within that band of supporting characters are some good performances from Domnhall Gleeson and Will Poulter, both of whom actually have some internal conflict to deal with. I’ve been largely nonplussed about Tom Hardy and his strange accents, but he’s quite enjoyable in this. Glass himself however is frankly not that interesting and the attempt to humanise him, by giving him a son who’s sole purpose in the film is to die, made him less interesting.