Alejandro G. Iñárritu is a name I haven’t been familiar with prior to seeing The Revenant but it will definitely be one that I will look out for in the future. He has quite possibly created one of this decade’s masterpieces in film. His western tale of survival and revenge is one that will leave you in awe for a very long time. I constantly find myself thinking back to some of the harrowing scenes in film and in doing so getting excited to see it again.
The obvious approach many other reviewers are going for with their pieces are about the serious lack of an Oscar on Leonardo DiCaprio’s shelf and how he deserves to win such accolades for the film. While an agreeable notion, it’s a tiresome topic, so let’s focus on the story.
Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is a tracker and hunter who along with his Pawnee son and a group of frontiersmen are attacked by a Native American tribe whilst on a hunting and pelting expedition. After being abondaoned by his fellow men and enduring a horryfing bear attack, the story takes a harsh turn of vengeful as Glass sets out on a revenge-fuelled journey to find Tom Hardy’s character, Fitzgerald.
What follows is easily one of the most amazing stories of survival, overcoming trauma, and dealing with the harsh and violent reality of the wild.
Despite this film’s deliberate dark and depressing tone, we are treated to some of the most enchanting locations that are brought to life with the amazing talents of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Iñárritu put his crew and cast through one hell ride of a shoot forcing them to only shoot with natural light in the harsh landscapes and it truly pays off. Between the unforgiving scenes of violence and tribulations faced by Glass, you’ll find yourself marveling at the beauty of this frozen unforgiving world thanks to the way it was shot by Lubezki.
DiCaprio one again proves that he is one of the most dynamic actors in Hollywood, and shines in every trial his character is put through. His ability to deliver agonisingly painful physical anguish, dealing with his injuries and the harsh forzen environments, is something quite special.
Besides DiCaprio’s stellar performance, its worthy noting that all the supporting cast members out performed themselves. Tom Hardy’s Fitzgerald is the perfect flea-ridden bastard who has you salivating in expectation of his impending death. He plays the perfect scoundrel you’re meant to hate from the first time he opens his fly trap with his sometimes hard-to-follow Southern drawl.
Domhnall Gleeson showcases that he’s steadily rising in the ranks of Hollywood’s hierarchy with his portrayal of a coddled Captain Henry. Another noteworthy performance is that of the young William Poulter for his portrayal of Jim Bridger.
All in all, director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 156 minute long tale of revenge and survival is truly a masterpiece of cinema. From the stellar performances of all the cast members to his attention to detail in the set pieces as well as the mastery of cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant is quite possibly one of the contenders for best film of 2016.