Alejandro Inarritu’s The Revenant is a massive film. Big is the word that keeps crashing in your brain while watching it. The vistas are big. The Themes are big. The characters are big (psychologically if not always physically). The brutality is big. This is just a big damned film.
Brutal is another word that cannot be escaped. Toward the end of the movie there is a fight in which one character has his fingers chopped off and it is the least violent thing to happen in the scene. This is Cormac McCarthy violence. Blood Meridian violence. And it is everywhere. The Americans are violent. The French are violent. The Native Americans are violent. And, above and beyond all of that, nature is violent. In tooth and claw and trunk and branch.
Perhaps the most extraordinary part of this film is the camera. Inarritu uses a disinterested style in which, through long almost languid shots, the camera finds the actions (or sometimes fails to find it). We in the audience must just observe. The camera, like nature, is disinterested.
I recognize that my thoughts here are scattered – I saw this at an advance screening last night and have not really slept yet. Sorry