The Revenant is based in part on the novel by Michael Punke and director Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman, 21 Grams) takes the reins as Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is left for dead by John Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hardy, in the frozen wilderness.
I’m not sure how much is true or not, either of the novel or of the movie. I, like most of you, will have heard the rumour mill that this is ‘DiCaprio’s best shot at an Oscar (finally)’ as well as the ‘sleeping in dead carcases’ thing.
Let’s start by saying this is a wonderfully shot movie. Inarritu takes a similar approach as we saw in Birdman, it’s not the one shot we saw in that. But there’s plenty of long, sweeping shots, following characters around, looping round and generally showing the, literally, breath-taking landscape.
DiCaprio is very, very good in the film. His acting is done without much use of words after he suffers a horrific attack in the wilderness and he conveys the emotion of the character brilliantly. The best thing he’s done? Not in my opinion but then the powers that be don’t always seem to give Oscars for someone’s best work do they…
The story follows DiCaprio who is a tracker, helping some soldiers through the wilderness with their stash. DiCaprio is with his son Hawk, played by Forrest Goodluck, and is helping Captain Andrew Henry, Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, About Time), Hardy, Bridger, played by Will Poulter (The Maze Runner, The Chronicles of Narnia) and the rest of the men.
DiCaprio is injured, most of the men go on but Goodluck, Hardy and Poulter stay behind to help DiCaprio. Except Hardy isn’t interested in helping him, he just wants to get out of there and get paid. So, whilst Poulter is elsewhere, Hardy kills Goodluck with a helpless DiCaprio watching on. Hardy then lies to Poulter and they run, leaving DiCaprio for dead…or so they think.
This man goes through hell and emerges the other side to track down Hardy for revenge, and this is the bulk of the movie.
The cinematography, by Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman), is stunning and Inarritu frames the shots wonderfully. The sound effects are also amazing, the film could almost be silent for large parts, but the sound of the snow melting, animals moving around or the wind in the trees adds a wonderful sense of foreboding to the whole thing.
This is a great movie, perhaps a tad too long at over 2.5 hours and, whilst the sound effects are great, the vocals are awful. I imagine it was hard to record them in the middle of nowhere but still, it can make for some interesting listening at times.
Will DiCaprio get his Oscar. I hope so, he deserves it, but at the same time, personally, I think he’s been better in other films. If they take in to account what the actors apparently went through whilst making the film, then they all deserve one.