Revenge is a dish best served cold is one thing but this film takes the concept to a whole other level. If you’re into films that are pure cheery, I wouldn’t pay to go see this one as there is a consistent miserable tone throughout this epic gut-wrenching blockbuster.
The Revenant directed by the innovative Alejandro G. Iñárritu, describes the story based on true events of frontiersman Hugh Glass. When Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is left for dead by his team of fellow explorers, and goes on a mission of vengeance.
Following the massive success of Birdman there was huge expectation on Iñárritu to deliver the same Oscar worthy quality again and I am pleased to tell you he has done exactly that.
Set in early 19th century Montana wilderness, the story details one man’s struggle for survival against the sheer brutality that nature can offer. If you think you’ve had a shite day you’ve got nothing on this guy.
As for DiCaprio’s portrayal of the main character, I honestly don’t think he’ll ever win an Oscar if he doesn’t get one next month. He manages to show the emotional and the physical agony of the protagonist superbly. DiCaprio manages to captivate indescribable anger and sorrow without physically being able to do anything about it – you’ll understand when you see it.
Whilst on the subject of the antagonist, likewise to Inception DiCaprio and Hardy have proved to be pivotal on this masterpiece as for every accolade DiCaprio earns Hardy certainly deserves as much credit. The backstabbing personality and the pure wickedness of Fitzgerald is clear from his first appearance to his last as Hardy keeps this consistent for the film’s entirety.
Not to mention the work of the other cast members who also contribute to the film’s theme of raw emotional endurance which includes relative up comer Will Poulter who plays the role of young Bridger. Poulter’s helpless character builds up empathy with the viewer as his situation brings new meaning to the phrase ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place’.
Even though the film goes through long parts where there is no dialogue, the psychological pain Glass suffers is represented through various visions from his past. This adds to the fact the Glass really has nothing to lose anymore despite this contrasting with his continuous effort for survival.
The director’s use of one shot tracking scenes narrates this harrowing tale perfectly to allow the audience to fully appreciate the ordeal of the main character. Despite the agony the cast and production team had to endure during filming (which includes working in sub-zero temperatures and having to cooperate with Iñárritu’s frail temper), the final outcome was truly worth all the pain.
By using the backdrops of Canada and Argentina for the majority of the landscape, the beauty of the wilderness is displayed through various high aerial shots. The director’s fussy demands for natural lighting have paid off in the long run as the film looks outstanding.
The gory, bloody scenes are disturbing beyond belief as no detail is spared when bringing to life the harm the Arikara Indians and American hunting tribes enforced onto each other. One of the first scenes showing the hunting party being attacked from the Indians is filmed in practically one take where it follows someone being killed then the perpetrator being killed then someone killing them and so on so forth. Despite the gruesome features, this only adds to overall brilliance of the film.
One concern is that despite there being a strong relevance to true events, the amount of pain one man can go through becomes slightly unrealistic. How can someone survive all that Glass went through?
However this does not take away on what is another masterpiece from Iñárritu who may very likely become the first person in Oscar history to pick up back-to-back best director awards. On the other hand DiCaprio has undeniably merited the best actor award and I really hope he is finally rewarded as his hard work shines through in this classic. In fact, if the now five time nominee does not take the top prize the credibility of the academy has to be questioned.
Rating: PURE DYNAMITE!
Have you seen The Revenant? What did you think? Let us know in the comments, or tweet @film_swot.
Author: Liam Ross