After being brutally attacked by a Grizzly Bear, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street) is within an inch of his life. Due to the men being slowed down by Glass' injuries, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, Mad Max: Fury Road) decides that it's better for everyone if Glass is put out of his misery and leaves him for dead after murdering his son. This sets Glass on an unstoppable hunt for revenge as he crawls and limps his way 200 miles across country to avenge his son.
Academy Award winning director Alejandro G. Innaritu (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)) helms this tale of revenge based on real events and does a phenomenal job. It's clear to see that this is the same director as Birdman due to its visual style but this is a very different film. The Revenant is all about survival and how far Glass is willing to go to avenge his son. The film is based on true events but has been dramatized to make for a more exciting story.
The role of Hugh Glass is certainly the most physically demanding role of DiCaprio's career, whilst he's not an overly complex character, the things DiCaprio had to do in this film merit an Oscar nomination at least. Eating raw fish and Bison liver as well as swimming in freezing cold rivers and sleeping inside a dead animal carcass were just some of the insane things DiCaprio had to do in production, and his efforts certainly pay off as it's a marvelous performance and probably in the top five of his career.
Tom Hardy co-stars as Fitzgerald, the film's antagonist whom is being pursued by Glass. For a while I never really saw Fitzgerald as a 'bad' character, I understood all of his decisions no matter how cruel and sometimes selfish they were. But as the end draws closer, Fitzgerald is played more as a straight up villain and the film's climax had me on the edge of my seat. Hardy is great in the role and it's a merit to his performance that for a long time I didn't view him as a villain but as a man who simply lacks empathy.
The big moment in the trailer is of course when Glass is attacked by the Grizzly Bear in the woods, I thought that was quite shocking in the trailer, but believe me when I say, the full scene is much worse. I found myself wanting to look away from the screen but I couldn't due to how visually brilliant it was. I am so curious to find out how they shot that scene because the visual effects on the bear are flawless. There are plenty of gut wrenching and nail biting moments in The Revenant but the bear scene is definitely the standout.
I was rooting for Roger Deakins to win the Oscar for Best Cinematography for Sicario this year but after seeing The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman) must win his third consecutive Oscar. I was floored with the cinematography in this film. No matter how much I wanted to look away from the screen in some scenes, I couldn't, because I'd regret missing a single frame of this beautiful film. Lubezki used all natural lighting to shoot the film which is rather remarkable and goes to show how talented he is as a DP. There's a lot of long, uninterrupted takes which we know Lubezki and Innaritu are exceptional at, we get to see the action play out, there isn't any shaky cam, or quick cuts, we feel like we're in some of these scenes because of how the film looks and moves.
One thing that stuck out to me was the film's musical score, it's strange and unsettling but I absolutely loved it.
The Revenant is one of the most visceral and raw cinema experiences of the modern age, it's sure to turn a few stomachs and it's a pretty long film coming in at over 150 minutes. It's humorless and there's perhaps only one moment of real levity but it's one of the best film's of 2015 for sure and one I highly recommend.
What did you think of The Revenant? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97