Review: The Revenant

For the record, let me make it clear that Leonardo DiCaprio was not raped by a bear! In the discussed sequence, I found that he was more chew-toy than plaything.

Anyway, the new film from last year’s Oscar winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu is a visually gorgeous and heart-racing endeavor; a character driven feature about survival, revenge and family set in the American frontier called The Revenant.

Oscar hopeful Leonardo DiCaprio stars as 19th century trapper Hugh Glass, who after a vicious bear attack is left for dead in the wilderness at the hands of John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, who tried to cover-up his wicked transgressions by killing Glass’ son Hawk, played by Forest Goodluck. After digging himself out of Fitzgerald’s shallow grave, Glass embarks on a harrowing trek through the wilderness, dodging marauding Natives, to find Fitzgerald and savor sweet satisfaction.

I’ve been looking forward to The Revenant for a long time and it was everything I expected it would be. The Revenant is a powerful accomplishment from director Alejandro González Iñárritu carried by Leonardo DiCaprio who is at his most phenomenal, and enhanced by the graceful and stirring cinematography of the legendary Emmanuel Lubezki; virtually everything about this film gets your heart racing and you can’t look away for a second! Heavy on the wow-factor.

Alejandro González Iñárritu has undoubtedly delivered a successful follow-up to his Oscar-winner for Best Picture Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) with this gritty and intense drama about a man who will go to great lengths for family as well as his own survival. Adapted from Michael Punke’s novel, The Revenant is a masterstroke from Iñárritu and screenwriter Mark L. Smith.

Iñárritu sits at the helm of one of 2015’s most emboldened and technically well-endowed features. Obviously, the cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki can speak for itself; you could take this movie frame-by-frame blow them all up as individual tableaus and museums could dedicate a wing to showcase The Revenant’s gorgeous visual artistry through the cinematic eye of Lubezki and his camera.

Stephen Mirrione was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his editing last year (Birdman) but I feel that he has a solid chance for recognition this year.

I felt that the music from Bryce Dessner, Carsten Nicolai and Ryuichi Sakamoto felt a little out of place at certain intervals of the film but I will recognize how distinct it was.

Jack Fisk’s production design, Michael Diner, Isabelle Duay and Laurel Bergman’s art decoration all exhibited the raw power of shooting in a natural location, Hamish Purdy’s set decoration was amazing, the costumes of Jacqueline West were as authentic as you could ask for, the sound, makeup, the special and visual effects, I was impressed with everything. What’s more is that I’ve heard about the stories recalling how grueling this production was but I must admit that this movie was an example of how suffering creates art and this was stunning to behold!

Image By Siebbi (Leonardo DiCaprio), via Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo DiCaprio has always been an actor who I could count on to deliver an outstanding performance but he went above and beyond with The Revenant as Hugh Glass. The lengths that he went to for this film, were it eating raw bison liver, or sleeping in a carcass or getting mauled and maimed by a possibly 300 lb bear, I could tell that he came committed to this role and he was determined to have the Best Actor Oscar on lock with a performance that touched something primal and fearless. Bravo Mr. DiCaprio!

Tom Hardy has certainly enjoyed 2015 and with The Revenant, he himself turned in a resounding performance as John Fitzgerald, the callous, greedy and deceptive opportunist who would do what needed to be done to save his own skin and make a profit.

The rest of the cast including Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Melah Nakehk’o are minor roles but all is compatible with their performances.

The word “revenant” means “one who has returned.” It applies to Hugh Glass, for he was a man who was left for dead and he returned to exact his revenge. The term “revenant” can also apply to several individuals who had a hand in crafting this gorgeous thriller that will have hearts racing in theaters.

I foresee that Alejandro González Iñárritu, Emmanuel Lubezki and Leonardo DiCaprio will return to the Oscars this February for they should be recognized for their contributions to The Revenant. The Revenant is one of 2015’s most distinguished and exhilarating achievements in film.


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