There are moments in The Revenant when director Alexander G. Iñárritu delivers sequences unlike anything we have seen at the movies. As he breaks the rules of how to use a camera, he creates new ways to tell a story. And, while the narrative can feel familiar at moments, how the director tells this survival tale is anything but conventional. The Revenant will leave you breathless.
This director likes to innovate. A year ago, Iñárritu won an Oscar for insisting that Birdman look as if the entire film was shot in one take. This new film is even more ambitious. While Birdman came to life inside the confines of a Broadway theater, The Revenant is shot against rugged backgrounds in the wilderness. While the earlier film explored a man’s struggle with internal demons, the new work examines how a man must overcome every possible obstacle to survive. And while the characters in Birdman talked a lot about their issues, stretches of The Revenant are dialogue free where Iñárritu lets his camera capture how people struggle to live.