Hi everyone, Bryan Here…
Could this finally be the year for Leonardo DiCaprio to take home that Oscar gold? It very well could be for his performance in ‘The Revenant‘. This is a movie that went through a few directors and actors before it landed on the ‘Birdman‘ director Alejandro G. Inarritu and Leo. At one point the studio wanted Park Chan-wook (‘Oldboy‘) to direct Samuel L. Jackson in the film, but that all fell through. Then the film went to John Hillcoat to direct Christian Bale in the film, before landing on Inarritu and DiCaprio.
The other directors and actors might want to thank their lucky stars, because ‘The Revenant‘ has gone down as one of the most difficult and brutal shoots in cinema history. Innarritu didn’t waste any time coming off of ‘Birdman‘ and his Oscar win for that film, as he went straight in to shooting this movie on location and ONLY using natural light, meaning zero stage lighting. The even filmed in the brutal winter at the southern tip of South America. It’s been documented that many crew members left the shoot, because it was so difficult, but the end result is one of the most stunning, beautiful, and poetic films with some extraordinary and ultra violence about a man who is left for dead and seeks revenge.
It’s quite the harrowing tale, one of which is definitely a true story about a man named Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and his fur trapping expedition with the mountain man Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) and a few others. The story goes is that Glass was a scout on a fur trapping journey with Tom Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Bridger, and Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson). During their journey, they were attacked by Indians, forcing the entire camp of people to split up and run for their lives. A lot of people ended up dead. Glass and his crew ended up making it out alive, however soon after that, Glass was viciously attacked by a mother grizzly bear.
Glass barely survived, but a couple of his journeymen didn’t want to haul him back to camp, so they left him for dead. Glass literally crawled his way out of a grave and to wherever he could seek help. He healed and went out to seek revenge. For the sake of this film, a few minor things were changed, but the overall story rings true. DiCaprio might not even have five pages of dialogue in this whole film, but rather a long series of grunts, howls, growls, and screams as he tries to survive in these terrible weather conditions and after being attacked by a giant bear. His performance, like most of his other performances should earn him an award.
He sells every wound and gash and ounce of pain very well. On the other hand, there is Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald, which marks his third film this year. Fitzgerald is a bastard of a human being, only looking out for himself and whatever money he find. He’s a hard worker, but doesn’t play well with others, and Hardy conveys this betrayal and insanity quite well. Then of course there is Will Poulter who plays Jim Bridger, who is the kind hearted good soul who just wants to do right, but is often too gullible for his own good.
Everyone turns in an award winning performance here and is not to be soon forgotten. The poetry part of the film comes with a side story of Glass’s son, who is half Indian, whose mother (Hugh’s wife) has died. There are a few flashbacks to their time together that shows beautiful imagery of becoming one with the Earth, death, and love, as Hugh thinks about his past. Each scene seems to be one long take, which never allows you to escape the brutal violence that is happening on screen. It’s hard to watch at times, but so worth it.
The bear attack scene alone is almost ten minutes with zero cuts, and it’s difficult to tell when the bear is real or not. Even the Indian attack scene in the beginning of the film is unbelievably good. This is by far one of the better shot films of the entire year. ‘The Revenant‘ is one of those movies that doesn’t come around that often. So you should stop and see it if you have the chance It’s one of the good ones.
– Bryan Kluger