Director: Alejandro Inarritu
Cast Headliners : Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domnhall Gleeson
Original Release Date : December 25th (very limited), January 8th (wide)
There's a lot of very great things to think of when considering The Revenant. There's the intense process that went into filming it, there's the fantastic talent involved, and perhaps most crazy of all is that the story of Hugh Glass is a largely true one. The players in this piece come into it after big steps in their career and the question is can they keep delivering. The answer is for the most part a resounding YES.
The film begins rolling far out in the American Western wilderness at the dawn of the winter of 1823. A group of fur trappers including Hugh Glass(Leonardo DiCaprio), his son Hawk(Forrest Goodluck) and their companions John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), young Jim Bridger(Will Poulter), and company commander Cpt.Andrew Henry(Domhnall Gleeson.) Events transpire including Native American attacks and the harshness of nature which leads to a truly epic journey for Glass that intensely unfolds bit by bit.
The movie is for the most part a tale of survival and all the bloody , gritty carnage and intensity that comes with it. The atmosphere and scenery is ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING as the uppercase text is a understatement. Director Alejandro Inarritu amazed with his frenetic close style and overall amazing accomplishment in 2014's Birdman so its not surprise he brings his incredible talent here. Every shot feels crisp whether it be up close to the action or in zoomed out beautiful nature landscapes. His cinematography gives a somber introspection to slow moments and a pulsepounding unnerving intensity to action when it does in fact appear. It makes the viewer feel as if they are really watching Glass himself on his journey. This is aided in that the cast actually went through a lot of the steps to create the movie. Making these varied and beautiful snowy vistas was as epic a tale in the real world as it turns out to in the final result and thats something which would make the film amazing in itself. The touch of Inarritu is one of magic art and isnt quite replicated by others in the industry today.
Visceral action and dazzling scenery/sequences is one thing but its just one gem in this movie's wonderful crown. Leonardo DiCaprio is simply awesome as Hugh Glass. Glass doesnt always get the chance to actually talk but instead delivers his prescence through nonvocal grunts and just doing things. Often alone, his pain is often expressed to the auidnece through the sheer talent of Leo's movements and reactions. This is one for the ages running a range of intense emotions. Maybe now he can finally earn that Oscar which is made even more impressive with the afromented really doing it all that it took to create and embody this movie.
The rest of the movie's small named cast is quality but the other highlight is without a doubt Tom Hardy's Fitzgerald. The same kudos could be mostly said of Leo as to him though he brings with him even more some great if gruff statements. Hardy is once again unrecognizable, adopting a thick frontiersman accent and distinct bearded beaten up look. Both him and Leo transform and make us feel for them whether it be cheering on or in anger. Either on their own would be commendable but together makes the film that much better.
It's beautiful filmcraft and filled with fantastic performances but with so much going on of course some things will slip through the cracks though luckily minimal. The film is really long but because of the stakes at hand and variety of enviroments gone through its worth it to this writer to see what dangers of nature or man await but it may turn some of in its artistic deep introspection moments that slow down the pace from time to time. And for everything that feels so gritty and real there are the times when it does break reality a bit for visions or the well known bear attack that feel slightly incongrous. The bear attack luckily feels very real but seeing the small bit of CGI used in a film otherwise devoid of it makes one think “that's some CGI” however it is a thrilling sequence like the other's action.
Its a overall amazing product. Perhaps it doesnt break ground as much as Inarritu's last directorial effort Birdman did: there's no meta-angle, the pace slows at times, the music is more typical, its more of a straightforward period survivor story. But he once again shows how to make something well looking and packed with powerful performances and moments. Once the intensity starts going it just gets more and more crazy and the ending moments feel that much more impactful for the journey before it. Bravo all, and extra shoutout to LeoDICap for being a stellar point of view to be alongside. 9.2 out of 10