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Revenant 4k, The

Fox // R // April 19, 2016 // Region 0
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted May 10, 2016 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:



It was the film to beat at the 2016 Oscars. With a staggering 12
Academy Award nominations and three wins (for lead actor, director,
and cinematography) The Revenant was the movie that both the
critics and the Hollywood elite loved. Now it's available in 4K
UltraHD for home video and the results are very impressive. The
sound and audio are reference quality and the movie itself, while a
little long, is enthralling and captivating.



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Set in the early 1800's, a trapping expedition that is out in the
wilderness is about to return to civilization when disaster occurs:
a group of Indians attack (the chief's daughter had been kidnapped
the night before and they are searching for her) and kill most of
the men of the expedition. With only 10 men left out of the original
45, it is up to the group's tracker, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio)
to lead the survivors back to their fort.



Things go from bad to worse when Glass, out hunting for food, is
mauled by a bear and nearly killed. The leader of the expedition,
Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) has some very limited
medical knowledge and sews Glass up and then orders the rest of the
men to build a stretcher so they can carry their wounded companion
back with them. One of the group, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy),
thinks taking the wounded Glass with them is a horrible idea. They
are being chased by hostile natives, winter is about to set in, and
the man is obviously going to die anyway.



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But take him they do, until the reach the mountains. There is no way
that the men they have, struggling to move themselves, can carry a
wounded man over the peaks. Reluctantly Capt. Henry asks for three
volunteers to stay with Glass until a rescue party can be sent. Two
young boys volunteer, as does Fitzgerald once the offer has been
sweetened with the promise of a $200 reward.



A few days after the other men leave, Fitzgerald decides that
waiting around to be killed my either Indians or a winter storm is
for the birds, and betrays Glass in a way that sears the wounded
man's soul. Even though he's unable to walk and still at death's
door, Glass sets out to kill Fitzgerald driven only by his sheer
will and a thirst for revenge.



While the plot sounds like a classic tale of revenge, the movie is
much more than that. The plot is almost secondary to the main point
of the movie: to pull the viewer into the film and come close, to
some extent, to experiencing what life was like nearly 200 years
ago. In this, the movie succeeds wonderfully. The cinematography is
simply amazing, even more so when you realize that (with one
exception) only natural light was used for filming. The vast vistas
of the plains, the tall pine trees in the forests and the
brilliantly white snow are beautiful to see, but they also bring the
viewer into the scene. When a man is standing in a stream with
snow-covered banks filling a canteen it's impossible not to think
"that has got to be COLD. I would never want to do that." The movie
drives home the fact that while nature is beautiful, it is also
deadly.



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The film is also generally slow, which is a good thing. It gives
time to drink in the vistas and appreciate what is being shown on
screen. While it does drag a bit in places the movie contrasts that
laborious pace with fast and frenetic violence (that will turn some
people off) that can be startling in its intensity at times.



The thing that I appreciated the most about this film is that it
portrayed all of the characters as real, flawed, people, rather than
covenant stereotypes. The Indian chief searching for his daughter
was neither a blood-thirsty savage nor a noble faultless person who
had been wronged. He was a father who was desperate to find his
child and was willing to kill innocent people to reach his goal.
Even Fitzgerald, who had few redeeming qualities, was shown in
shades of grey. Yes, he hated Indians, but they had scalped him
while he was alive. It's easy to see how something like that would
make someone racist. His position on leaving Glass behind was also
pragmatic. While none of this forgives the things that he does, the
movie doesn't make him a cackling villain tying maidens to train
tracks.



While this is a good film, there are some problems with it. Some
people will be turned off by the Tarantino-level of violence that is
all the more shocking since so much of the movie is sedate and
lovely. The movie is a bit long too, and some of the subplots seem
extraneous. The Indian chief searching for his daughter, for
example. While they cut from the main story a few times to follow
this plot, this reverse Searchers story isn't given enough
time to develop and so the interludes seem like padding, something
this 156 minute film doesn't need.



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There is also a certain amount of disbelief that has to be
suspended, and I can see where the level is just too high for some
people. I didn't mind it too much, but there was a scene at the end
where I mentally shouted "Oh come on! You can't be serious." Suffice
to say that Glass goes through many hardships over the course of the
film and that some people will reach their limit earlier than
others.



The Ultra HD Disc:





This UHD Combo set includes the film on a 4K disc as well as a
Blu-ray (the latter of which contains all of the extras).



Video:



The 2160p, 2.40:1 image is simply stunning. I was really blown away
by the level of detail, the warm earthy colors, and the overall
appearance of the film. The pans were smooth, the dark scenes had an
impressive amount of detail, and the lines were tight and smooth. I
did see a minor amount of banding in the sky in a couple of the
scenes, but it was minor and I only mention it for the sake of being
thorough. I popped in the Blu-ray disc for comparison, and the 4K
version is distinctly better offering more detail and a more
appealing picture. This is a reference quality disc.



Audio:



I really liked the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that
accompanies this film. The sound is important in this movie, from
the soft sounds of the bubbling creak at the beginning to the grunts
and snorts of the bear attack and the full-room sound of the Indian
battle it all comes together nicely. The contrast between the soft
natural sounds and the forceful sounds of battle serve to underline
one of the movie's themes about the contrast between the beauty of
nature and the violence that happens in it. This disc's sound is
quite impressive.



Extras:



The bonus featurettes are a bit sparse on this disc, but it's a case
of quality over quantity. There are no bonus items on the 4K disc,
and the Blu-ray only has two: a photo gallery and a making-of
documentary, A World Unseen. While the former is one of the best
galleries I've seen, filled with amazing images, the docu is even
better. It runs a tad over 44 minutes and is just as engrossing and
interesting as the film. With ample behind the scenes footage and
interviews it is definitely worth watching.



Final Thoughts:



A beautiful yet violent movie, this cinematography is simply amazing
and it is worth watching for that alone. The plot itself moves at a
deliberately sedate pace and that might be a bit too slow for some
viewers who are looking for a film where a wronged man kicks ass and
takes names. This is not that film. If you like your movies a bit
more thoughtful however, this comes recommended.��������

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