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Revenant: The Spence Edit, The
May 22, 2016    
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Visual Editing 
Audio Editing 

I was a little ambivalent about this film when it was released last year. I loved the cinematography - there’s something quite extraordinary in the visual scale of the film - the Alexa 65 digital that Lubezki uses gives ridiculous clarity. I remember actually feeling cold when I saw this in the cinema, it was so visceral. I read that the film was shot using only natural light - which is just incredible and illustrates what the new technology can achieve. But as much as I’m in awe of the technical achievements, I can’t find much substance in the film. Is it just a revenge piece? I’m still not sure.

The cool thing about Spence’s edit is it attempts to give the film some narrative spine and momentum. It’s shorter, more focused on Glass, and less self conscious than the original. I think it works very well in this respect. But ultimately I’m not sure that Glass’s revenge is enough to build an adventure on. One interesting side effect of the tighter focus on his character was for me a kind of time shrinkage, such that his capacity to survive anything and everything was even harder to take. But it’s a seamless cut. The quality of both the audio and visual editing is excellent. I really like the fresh narrative pace and sense of purpose - which is no small feat when you consider that Inarittu is probably trying to do the opposite. And it’s certainly less pretentious. And cutting up some of the director’s long takes? That’s very cool indeed.

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