“I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’d done it already”

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SUPER HOT REVIEW TODAY. Last night I saw The Revenant directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. This is the film I’m convinced Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar for. There’s no beating around the bush here, this film is a solid 10/10.

The Plot

The Revenant is set in the 1820’s on a fur trading expedition where a group of men have to flee their camp after being attacked by an indigenous tribe. A frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leo) has to lead them back home through the wilderness. Along the way Hugh is brutally attacked by a bear which breaks his leg and rips his throat. His team attempt to carry him along their journey but it proves too difficult. In the end their Captain (Domhnall Gleeson) offers money to two men who will stay with Glass until he passes away and they are to give him a proper Christian burial. Glass’s son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) stays behind along with Bridger (Will Poulter) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Hawk and Bridger sincerely care for Hawk but Fitzgerald has other ideas and kills Hawk and leaves Glass for dead. Glass then travels 200 miles to seek revenge on the man who took his only son and left him for dead.

The Look

This film is so visually beautiful, Iñárritu shot the whole film using natural light, which only allowed him to film for an hour and a half a day. I’ve watched many interviews about this film and they spent their time filming in Canada and Argentina in horrific conditions. This really pays off because each frame is stunning. But this beauty is deceiving as there are so many dangers hidden within it as we see along Glass’s journey. I really liked the camera work in this film, it was very free and loose and slightly experimental but it really paid off.

Costumes and make up are outstanding in The Revenant, Glass’s body is practically rotting and make up artist Sian Grigg’s work creating this is astonishing. She’s just been nominated for an Oscar for her work in this film. Looking at some of the wounds she created made my stomach knot because they looked so excruciatingly painful.

The Soundtrack

I really picked up on the sound in this film, instead of having a constant score, Iñárritu chose to use natural sounds; in particular he liked to layer up whispers of Glass’s late wife. This made things slightly eerie, fitting in well with the surrounding, empty wilderness. There was an orchestral score in some parts but this was kept quite minimalist and wasn’t used too much which I think was a really good creative choice. An example of the lack of orchestral score is the infamous bear attack scene, there is no score in the background of this. All you can hear are Glass’s screams and the grunts and scratches from the bear. It’s really powerful because it makes it realistic and you can’t get distracted from the brutal attack occurring in front of you and there is a powerful silence behind it.

The Acting

Let’s start with our main man Leo; I cannot begin to imagine the physical strength he had to have for this film. He has to play a severely wounded character who can barely walk for most of the film whilst freezing in the middle of nowhere. He creates the pain of Glass exceptionally along with Glass’s determination and inner strength. –   I don’t think I’ve seen a better performance in many years. For this role he had to do wild things such as eating raw bison liver and sleeping in an animal carcass. If that’s not dedication to your job, I don’t know what is.

Secondly Tom Hardy gives a very good performance as Fitzgerald; his character is very gobby and not afraid to speak his mind. He brings an element of grit and defiance to the film creating a contrast with Glass. His character is quick and sly which Hardy puts across so well. Hardy and Leo’s characters have a big chase/fight scene at the end of the film which is shot and acted perfectly.

An actor who I’ve always loved is Will Poulter and his crazy eyebrows. He creates such an innocent and caring character as Bridger in this film – far different from all of the other men on the expedition who are only looking out for themselves. He is forced into situations that he hates and we see how his guilt eats away at him throughout the film.

Review

I’d just like to kick off this part by saying that the uproar from Americans about the bear “molesting” Leo is complete rubbish. It is quite blatantly an attack to protect her young.

This is an exceptional film showing the brutality of life in the 1800’s. Each character acts violently and is only ever looking out for themselves. What I really liked is that the film didn’t stray from the simple plot of Glass seeking revenge for his son’s death. Along his journey he sees such terrible things but never stops to dwell on them and just carries on with his mission. It is an amazing story of survival and strength.

I can’t find much to criticise in this film because I think it is a great, experimental piece and it’s really inspiring as a budding filmmaker. What I liked most is the film had meaning which so many blockbusters lack nowadays. It is based on a true story and explores a large part of American history that is rarely talked about and I think it will inspire people to learn more about it.

The attention to detail is sublime and you can feel how much love and drive went into The Revenant. The crew and production team are in the thick of nature, embracing it to create something beautifully dark. For me, it will sit up there with my all time favourites. Simply amazing and I really hope it continues to do well at the awards.

GO SEE IT!

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“We got here from hard work, patience, and humility. “

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Right, today’s review is the most recent Jennifer Lawrence film Joy directed by David O’Russel. I watched this the other day and thoroughly loved it. (Jlaw has just won a Golden Globe for her performance in this film. So if that doesn’t say it’s good, I don’t know what will!)

The Narrative

The film is loosely based on the life of Joy Mangano. Jlaw plays Joy, a 40 year old mum of two who lives in a cramped house with her kids, her mother, grandmother and ex-husband who lives in the basement. Her parents had a tough divorce when she was little so she gave up her dreams of being an inventor to look after her mum who spends her life sitting in bed watching soap operas. Her life is hectic and she seems to be the only one in the family who does anything. Queue Robert De Nero…he plays her father Rudy and has been dumped by his girlfriend so moves back into Joy’s hectic household. Long story short, Joy one day has the idea to invent a self-wringing mop and the film then follows her tough journey trying to make this happen.

The Acting

Now I am a big Jlaw fan; I think she’s incredible and enjoyed her performance in Joy. You can see how tired and fed-up Joy is from looking after her family, who never seem to help her back, but she still always offers a warm smile to her kids. She plays a really great mum and you see this come out later in the film when she’s trying to sell the mop to other mums. Her character is also incredibly feisty and tough and she loses her rag more than once, which is sometimes quite amusing. I thought Jlaw totally deserved the Golden Globe that she won for this film as she shows Joy’s transformation from a nervous, tired mum with a small idea to the biggest business woman of the time.

Bob De Nero gives an amusing performance; you can’t fault it and his character creates a lot of issues within the plot.

Mr Brad Cooper (yum) has a smaller role than I expected but it’s still an incredibly important one. He comes in for roughly the last third of the film. He plays Neil Walker and does his best to help Joy achieve her dream. For once he plays a character who is kinda a dick in parts which I think is good to see because all of his roles are usually ‘the nice guy’.

A particular favourite of mine was Joy’s mum Terry, played by Virginia Madsen. She brings a big element of comedy to the film and lightens the whole thing when it’s getting a little too much. I thought that was a particularly good casting choice.

The Look

The whole look and feel of the film is very Silver Linings Playbook (it is the same director after all) if you’ve seen that. But that’s not a bad thing; it makes the whole film slightly quirky and cool but also retro which I really loved.  Joy also has a great soundtrack that really fits in with the time of the film, drawing you into the world obsessed with shopping channels.

The Review

As you can tell I loved the film, but can see how it’s not for everyone. It is about 2 hours long and you really have to stay focused to pick up on each little detail. If you’re someone who doesn’t like a lot of dialogue then Joy is not the best option for you. Looking around, the film hasn’t been getting the amazing reviews that I expected, but each to their own I suppose!

I can’t fault Jlaw’s performance but upon reading about the real life story of Joy I found it odd that Jlaw (who is 25) had been cast as a 40 year old as she blatantly isn’t 40. There were parts that I wish the director had explored further or made into a bigger deal, but I have to accept that you can’t include everything as a filmmaker and have to make compromises.

The whole film is slightly wacky which some people won’t like, but if you just go with it you really get caught up in the story.

There is so much of this film that I have left out but the film is so intricate that this review would be miles long if I were to talk about all of it.

I have no hesitation in giving the film a 10/10, and that’s a very big deal ’cause I’m picky with my movies. I urge everyone to see it, it’s captivating, visually beautiful and a really heart-warming story.

 

As per usual, here is the trailer: