Critic Reviews



Based on 50 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
What is so distinctive about this Iñárritu picture is its unitary control and its fluency: no matter how extended, the film's tense story is under the director's complete control and he unspools great meandering, bravura travelling shots to tell it: not dissimilar, in some ways, to his previous picture, Birdman. The movie is as thrilling and painful as a sheet of ice held to the skin.
Pushing both brutal realism and extravagant visual poetry to the edges of what one customarily finds in mainstream American filmmaking, director/co-writer Alejandro G. Inarritu, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and a vast team of visual effects wizards have created a sensationally vivid and visceral portrait of human endurance under very nearly intolerable conditions.
Astounding. With a director, DoP and cast at the top of their game, The Revenant is a filmmaking triumph.
Though it may feel threadbare for some, Iñárritu's near exhausting movie is still unforgettably visceral and there's so much to be dazzled and experientially shaken by.
I'm not sure The Revenant is quite as tough and uncompromising as it thinks it is: it's coffee-table existentialism, with psychological brush-strokes so thick they might as well have been put on with a mop. But there's no question it's an extraordinary, blood-summoning, sinew-stiffening ride.
What makes this more than just a punishing, fearful, expertly crafted thriller focused on one man's endurance is heavily down to Emmanuel Lubezki's attractive, thoughtful photography.
This brutal survival tale is so powerfully engrossing that, despite the clear limitations of his monochromatic, showy approach, the film's compelling construction tends to override the legitimate criticisms.
No amount of ingenious camerawork and breakneck pacing can obscure a simplistic core.
In aiming to steer his dark, fatalistic vision toward something genuinely contemplative and cathartic, Inarritu has managed to appropriate the beauty of Malick's filmmaking but none of its sublimity - another word for which might be humility. There is plenty of amazement here, to be sure, but all too little in the way of grace.
What pushes the film, at long last, into the icy river, is its very design, as a monument to slick, mercenary grandeur.

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