R, 156 Minutes, 2015 – Opens Wide January 8, 2016
About: An 1820s scout must survive the American wilderness as lots of really bad stuff happens to him and everyone else.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domnall Gleeson (who has had quite the year with Ex Machina, Brooklyn, and Star Wars), and that kid from We’re the Millers (Will Poulter)
Directed: Alejandro González Iñárritu – If Birdman didn’t win you over to his skill, this will. He is a modern day master especially with his ability to craft a shot.
Best Thing About It: Wow is this film beautiful and captivating. Long uncut shots (no surprise) with 360º swings, incredible vistas, gorgeous framing of the magnificent wilderness. Nature (mostly Canada, some Argentina) which is a co-star in this film, does its job outstandingly, and is captured with mastery.
Worst Thing About It: This is not a film for everyone. It is long. There are huge periods of silence. The plot of the movie isn’t that challenging.
And it’s pretty gross. The battles are realistic with gruesome resulting injuries. On-the-fly surgery is worse. There is a nasty persistent racism towards American Indians and the violence towards woman is raw and horrific. Animals are shown and eaten in all sorts of ways you’ve never desired. It’ll be a tough sit for many people. Know yourself.
Notable Things About It: Just give Leo the Oscar already. 5 nominations. Should have won for The Aviator. This role was physically brutal. As IMDb reports, he grew that nasty beard, learned to shoot a musket, build a fire, and speak two native American Languages (Pawnee and Arikara). Just give him the Oscar already! (By the way, Tom Hardy is pretty outstanding too, but will get no Oscar love)
Overall: The movie is a pleasure as a visual feast and for the acting. But somewhat like Birdman, the plot is not captivating enough. Go see it as it really should be seen on the big screen.