movie

The Revenant – A long and intense journey

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First of all, congratulations, Leo. Finally, you can get hold of an Oscar, and you really deserve it. You are an incredible actor who’s been churning out many good movies, and your acceptance speech is simply awesome. Who knows, this may open the flood gate, and lead to more awards for you in the future. Let’s wait and see.

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The Revenant  is really a long, arduous, and intense movie. Definitely not a walk in the park, and if you want to catch it in cinema, go ahead, but be prepared mentally and physically, don’t go in with empty stomach, and better get some snacks and drinks to replenish yourself. Also, if English is not your first language, and you cannot read Chinese subtitle, then you may have some problems catching the conversations, especially those involving Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, the guy who pushed Glass, played by Leo, into the life and death situation that he had to scramble to escape from. Anyway, don’t worry, as the actions form the main part of the movie, and even if you miss all the dialogue, you will still be able to get the main flow of events. Just sit back, pay attention, and you will enjoy it. 🙂

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The story is about the survival of Henry Glass, who had lost everything, and managed to pull through with just one purpose: to avenge the death of his beloved son, his only remaining family, who was tragically murdered in cold blood right before his very own eyes. It was even more painful as he could do nothing to save him, and could only lie there motionless and watch the event unfold in front of him. It was an utmost pain, and Leo really portrayed it truthfully and credibly.

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There were some flashbacks to the happy life that Glass used to have. It was normal, nothing fanciful, but it was full of love, and that explained why he was so protective towards his son. Tragedy has struck him once, and he surely did not want to see the same thing happen to him once again. Unfortunately, history repeated itself once again, and he was left with nothing but a burning desire to revenge. It was a really sad and tragic story.

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The movie was also a statement about the strength of human, and the ability to survive. Of course, not any human can do what Glass has done to keep himself alive and find the way back to camp. He not only had to survive the harsh winter, the multiple wounds inflicted on him by the angry bear not long ago, he had to hide from the chase and the hunt of the Indian tribes who had perceived him as the thief who stole the leader’s very own daughter.

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With the odds stacked so high against him, it was really heart breaking to see what he went through, how he got past each day, and what he did to survive the situation. His life skills were really superb, and he could make do with almost nothing, probably thanks to the experience accumulated from the many years he had been living in nature and working as a hunter.

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The movie was really very long, and the ending was predictable. However, the chain of events more than made up for that, and the length was probably due to the fact that, it was a waste to dente any scene. Leo was great in every frame, and the whole story was complete. Not many actors can single handedly carry the whole movie on his shoulders like that, let alone on as long and physically taxing as this one. So, kudos to Leo, he really made it, and if this kind of dedication and performance did not earn him an Oscar, I don’t know what will do it.

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Another benefit of catching this movie in cinema is that you can fully enjoy the sight and sound. Most of the scenes were shot in very wide angle, showcasing the stunning beauty of nature, and the stark contrast between the little human and the icy mountains stretching all the way to infinity. The sound was also beautifully captured and processed, to the extent that you can really distinguish the source and direction of the sound. A call from behind the main character will not blast on you from the front speaker, and the bird chirping on your left will definitely not hit you from the right. I was caught off guard in the beginning, but then as I paid more attention to the sound editing, I really found it interesting and professional. I cannot recall experiencing sound editing to this level of sophistication in any other movie before, even with those big blockbusters. Or maybe last time, the speakers in the cinemas were not developed well enough? Anyway, it was beautiful sound editing indeed.

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You may argue that this is not Leo’s strongest performance yet. He is such a diverse actor that there are so many roles to compare. It may really not be his best role, but it’s definitely one that he has devoted a lot of time and energy, invested a lot of strength and attention, and sacrificed a lot, both physically and emotionally. It was physical, it was emotionally drained, and it was a real challenge. So, let’s congratulate Leo on a job well done, and looking forward to his new adventures.

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