Stunning, intense, and gritty are the words I would use to describe Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s new film, The Revenant. The film made its U.S. debut on Christmas Day in a few select theaters. It opened nationwide on January 8th. I have been waiting to see this film since the trailer premiered last summer, and I was in awe. There are few films released these days that live up to the caliber of The Revenant.
If you have seen the trailer, you probably have noticed that it does not really paint a clear picture of what the film is actually about. Let me help explain. The film is loosely based on Michael Punke’s novel, The Revenent: A Novel of Revenge. Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a seasoned explorer and fur trapper who gets mauled by a Grizzly bear. He is left for dead by two members of his hunting group. Glass builds up the strength to endure a long and exhausting journey to get revenge on those who wronged him. His survival skills are tested as he undergoes several traumatic and trying experiences. One of the main points of the film is to display the fight of Man versus Nature. I think it achieves this in every way.
I’ll just go ahead and say that this film is not perfect. It is not a complete 10 out of 10 stars. But there are some truly incredible aspects of the film that cause you to forget those mistakes, in my opinion. We have all read newspaper and magazine articles about the staggering budget, difficult shooting processes, and climatic challenges that went along with making this film. There was definitely tension and apprehension on set. In the end, it was all worth it.
The cinematography was amazing. The camera work was done by the legendary Emmanuel Lubezki, who has a long list of accolades. My sister commented that each shot looked like a painting, and I 100% agree. It was shot in a manner that made you feel like you were right there with Glass, every step of the journey. The genius use of natural light only enhanced the film even more. There were just some unbelievable shots of light pouring through the snow-covered trees and mountains. One of my favorite parts of the film was the opening raid scene. It feels like the shot was done all in one take. The camera tracks around the wounded and dying men as well as the men who seek safety. You have to see it on the big screen in order to get the full effect.
Along with Leo DiCaprio, there were several other great performances. Tom Hardy, who had the role of John Fitzgerald, was so much fun to watch. His character is the one that Hugh Glass is seeking revenge on. Hardy displayed a very convincing and entertaining performance. Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson were also part of the resilient cast. There has been a lot of buzz on whether this will be DiCaprio’s year for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Personally, I hope he wins. It would be a deserving and long coming honor. This performance by him is the true definition of a method actor. It is not as simple as one might think to exhibit such emotion and agony while in sub-zero temperatures. Not to mention the fact that DiCaprio actually ate real bison liver as well as plunged into icy cold water without a stuntman (for some of the shots). The whole cast does a fantastic job of making the whole experience authentic.
I would recommend that you go see this film in theaters. It is a masterpiece, in a film making point of view, to say the least. There are just not many films made like The Revenant anymore. If you like adventure, drama, and an overall thrilling experience, you will like this film. Please tell me your opinions or ask any questions in the comment section below!
This film is rated R.