Movie Review: The Revenant
At the end of the day, The Revenant is another great movie DiCaprio should get an Oscar for.
Really; what does the guy have to do to be acknowledged by the Academy; do porn?!
Leonardo Alphonso DiCaprio is a GREAT actor. Period.
The Revenant is actually the second feature-length film about the bear-mauling experience of a man known as Hugh Glass; the first being Man In The Wilderness in 1971 starring Richard Harris, and this one starring Leo. It is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, same guy who helmed the Oscar-winning Birdman two years ago. This time he takes the shoot to Argentina and Alberta, shooting for nine months and putting the cast and viewers in a sub-zero hell.
As I said at the cinemas; if you’re the kind that uses movies to score with women; please do not take the next one to see Revenant.
The camera work grips you from the opening sequences and has you wondering whether you’re actually watching film unfold or you’re watching drama through someone else’s eyes. It’s an effective gimmick; as you realize Iñárritu wants to trap you in this bleak, hopeless ice hell of the frontier he’s created. From sweeping icescape to freezing river, the picture is a visual delight.
But the star of the movie (and almost every other one he’s ever done) is DiCaprio, playing the role of a man determined to live. His character, Hugh Glass (renamed Zachary Bass for the Man in the Wilderness version) is a tracker, hired to lead a pelt-hunting expedition in the woods. His personal life is expanded upon here, giving him a Native American (Indian; if you will) wife (who we meet only through his flashbacks) and a mixed son Hawk. Together, they’re stalking a Bison in the opening scenes when suddenly their camp is attacked by Indians, so they are forced to forge deeper into the forest. Somewhere along the journey, he accidentally stumbles on a bear with two cubs who viciously attacks him in a scene graphic enough to churn the thickest of bellies.
Even though the bear is obviously a CGI creation, it is vicious enough to inspire nightmares. He eventually kills the bear, but he is half-dead and immobilized. They bind him to a toboggan and haul him along – until it is clear he is holding them back. They examine him – and are sure he cannot make it so the caption asks a couple of men to stay behind and bury him when he finally succumbs to his wounds.
Enter the villain of the movie, John Fitzgerald, played with nasty detachment by Tom Hardy.
Honestly, both men deserve Oscars for what they did with and in this movie. DiCaprio in an interview mentioned what he went through; speaking on a number of scenes that were hell to shoot. In following the movie, you see that statement is not far-fetched as it is his performance that makes a classic out of what would easily have been just another man versus nature movie. He eats raw liver, sleeps inside the hollowed out carcass of a horse, crawls and stumbles through ice river and mountain alike, revenge the only thing keeping him going. He scribbles on surfaces ‘Fitzgerald killed my son’ and decides to stay alive; no matter the odds, lights his throat on fire to cauterize it and has about twelve lines of dialogue mumbled through a torn throat. But his determination is entrancing; this movie has Leo stretching his acting chops even further than before.
The Revenant is DiCaprio’s masterpiece; it’s his Sistine Chapel. If he retires after this; I wouldn’t hate him – though I would still want to be dazzled by the deceptively-smiling but hidden genius that is him.
He really should get the Oscar this time; because none of the four other movies in the category even come close to demanding half-as much from their stars.
And if he doesn’t…
Yeah. I wrote it!
And before I forget…