The Revenant arrives primed for awards season and some are already calling it the best contender of the year. That’s probably true, but don’t let industry back-patting hype stop you from watching a truly remarkable film.

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  • What is it?

After their fur-gathering party is attacked by Indians, a small group of U.S. pioneering types make their way back to civilisation. When their scout is mauled by a bear and near death, they eventually leave him behind under the care of a rather dubious character. This cascades into a brutal tale of survival and revenge.

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  • I would like it if I like…

The Revenant has few peers, but if it held a party, it would invite the likes of True Grit, The Grey, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood. As it is by the same director, fans of Birdman should also definitely give it a watch.

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  • Is it good?

It’s fantastic, but with a few caveats. The Revenant is a slow burner and at no point tries to rush matters. It fills its 2.5 hour runtime with intent. But this works, because the movie has a perfect balance between despair and tension. The cinematography plays this vibe like Jimi Hendrix played the blues. Meanwhile Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hardy put in among the best work of their careers. Leo plays ‘strong and silent’ in a way the child of Liam Neeson, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson couldn’t, while Tom creates that rare bad guy that you both fully hate and yet really understand. If you’ve had enough of people bitching about Di Caprio’s vacant Oscar or Hardy’s genius, you will hate The Revenant.

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  • Should I watch it?
Read  Leonardo di Caprio's Captain Planet live-action movie to be "subversive, fun, dark and irreverent"

Yes. It’s not a forgiving movie and will be a tedious ride if you aren’t swept into its grim and grimy folds. Yet the raid scene that opens the film is the ultimate buy-in moment, while the rest of the film keeps delivering on that promise. Basically, if you don’t like the first ten minutes, you won’t like this movie. But if you do, The Revenant is a new tier in cinematic history.

Last Updated: January 14, 2016

Summary
9.8

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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