In The Revenant, fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is leading a band of men in a hunting party in 1820s South Dakota, when viciously and remorselessly assaulted by a grizzly bear. His men are only in it for themselves and when they see the condition he’s left in, they leave him for dead with help of intimidation tactics from the unflinching and cold John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). They murder his half Native-American son in cold blood and leave Glass in a shallow grave to die. But he survives.
Now he must brave the elements he encounters in order to survive, as well as outwit the warring tribes. In order to obtain his retribution, he must conquer the sheer cold, wind, rain, and snow on a 120 mile trek to Fitzgerald’s location. The Revenant is from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), and it is truly as dark, raw, and gritty as the rumors suggest. This is based on part of the book ‘The Revenant: A Novel Of Revenge’ by Michael Punke. The original novel was based on true events that entailed betrayal, deception, survival, will power, and ultimate redemption. The film’s ruthless realism stems from Inarritu’s will to film Glass’ suffering using natural light in truly remorseless landscapes.
The Revenant excels in every department from acting, to music, to direction, but what got me was the sheer harshness of this movie. The cinematography was what captured me. The landscapes and location were equal to the goodness of Peter Jackson‘s location shooting for Lord Of The Rings. The way this movie is shot is truly remarkable, and I’ll be flabbergasted if it doesn’t win best picture. There isn’t any other movie that comes close to this movie in terms aesthetics and “Wow” factor. It’s bloody, twisted, adrenaline fueled, and in your face. You see every ounce of Glass’ pain and suffering through uses of the extreme close up shots, especially in the scene where he is nearly mauled to death by a bear. The cinematography is truly remarkable, and I was in tears by just looking at the locations that Inarritu decided to use.
This is a revenge tale, and we’ve all seen revenge films like Kill Bill, Gladiator, Django Unchained, Gangs Of New York, Law Abiding Citizen, V For Vendetta, and Cape Fear just to name a few. It appears in the media that people don’t like the idea of a movie with a basic revenge plot getting so much hype, and not to mention twelve Oscar nominations. Personally, I think it is worth every bit of hype it receives, and the cast is truly phenomenal. Revenge is a dish best served cold, which is an old proverb from way back when that still applies today. This is especially true in The Revenant which is set in the Mid-West in South Dakota, where there’s an icicle everywhere you look.
The Oscar-nominated performances by Tom Hardy (Legend, Bronson) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained, Blood Diamond) are worth the nominations, which can’t be said to a few of this year’s contenders in the acting categories. Their performances are powerful, strong, gritty, dark, and what’s more, they both overflow with conviction. “We’re all sane in our own mind” is a common saying, but in this movie each character thinks he’s right. Tom Hardy thinks all his actions are justified and Glass thinks that by killing Fitzgerald, revenge will bring him peace. Both performances were tear jerking. Through Leo’s career, I have only found two films that I didn’t like. That was due to the film, and not his performance. Those are The Great Gatsby and Titanic; His performances in both were on point. Leo is truly unkillable in this flick. I have yet to find a Tom Hardy movie that I didn’t enjoy. His work on Legend was to be commended, and with each performance he keeps getting better and better. He’s one of the best active talents we have in Britain today.
The supporting cast included Domhnall Gleeson (Force Awakens, Brooklyn) and Will Poulter (Maze Runner), who both gave good performances. Gleeson plays the naive yet honorable captain, and Poulter playing an adolescent rookie, Bridger, who knows nothing of the world. Bridger is very trusting and doesn’t understand that sometimes you have to do what’s necessary to survive, as Fitzgerald tries to teach him. He has a good heart, which would most likely get him killed in the harsh wilderness of South Dakota. Poulter is building up his acting resume nicely, having been casted to play Pennywise in the remake of Stephen King’s It. Domnhall Gleeson is getting some good gigs, as well, having been casted as General Hux in Star Wars, but also giving his career’s best in Brooklyn. And even before that, he was in Ex Machina and the Harry Potter franchise as William ‘Bill’ Weasley.
The Revenant has received twelve Oscar nominations, eight BAFTA nominations, and I wouldn’t be irritated if it got Oscar twelve wins and eight BAFTA wins. All the nominated areas are warranted. Direction, writing, acting, costume, make up, etc.. It’s excellent on every level despite its three-hour running time. For some people, three hours is a long time to remain in one position and gaze at a screen. In my opinion, it doesn’t drag. It’s steady to begin with and it sucks you in. It ends with an excellent yet predictable climax with the final showdown between Leo and Tom tussling to the death on the ice. The Revenant is an excellent a movie, and I sincerely hope that Leo gets his Oscar; He should have won at least three by now.
I only have one qualm. It’s not really with the movie but more the certificate. It was certificated 15 in the UK. It’s bloody, brutal, dark ,and violent, so I think it qualifies for an 18 certificate. However, the film itself is first class.