“The Revenant” is a film that has been in limited release since Christmas Day in order to be a contender for the Oscars. Now it’s getting a nationwide release.
Let’s get straight to the point. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance has received nothing but a tremendous amount of Oscar buzz, many speculating he will finally win that coveted statue.
After seeing it myself, I thoroughly concur. DiCaprio gives by far the single most incredible performance of his career.
He plays Hugh Glass, a frontiersman in the 19th century. While in some wilderness, he and his party are ambushed by a Native American tribe, and they scatter. Once they get back on land, Glass is viciously mauled by a bear, and his party believes he might die of his injuries. Tom Hardy co-stars as John Fitzgerald, one of the members of Glass’s party.
Things go from worse to horrible for Glass when Fitzgerald kills Glass’s own son in front of him and then buries Glass in a makeshift grave and vanishes. However, Glass is able to literally crawl out of his grave, crawl through the wilderness for 200 miles and stay alive long enough to exact justice on Fitzgerald.
Glass encounters a series of trials and tribulations on his journey, including being attacked multiple times, swimming in freezing cold water and even going over a cliff while on horseback. These scenes have so much intense realism because DiCaprio himself is actually doing these stunts. That makes us respect him as an actor, and his performance carries an enormous amount of gravity. This movie should have been called “The Passion of the DiCaprio.”
Director Alejandro G. Inarritu, who won the Oscar for “Birdman,” once again gives us another magnificent achievement. His guerrilla style of directing combined with his stark and mesmerizing vision is unmatched and unlike any other filmmaker out there today. In addition to Inarritu’s amazing direction, Emmanuel Lubeski dazzles with some breathtaking cinematography. He’s won the last two years at the Oscars and, no doubt, he will three-peat here. His work is simply phenomenal.
I know there are so many focusing on DiCaprio, and rightfully so, but Hardy deserves a lot of credit for playing a character who does not have a shred of conscience toward his actions and for having an unforgiving presence at all times. He should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
The fact that Inarritu directed this film with some sequences featuring long, uninterrupted takes is astounding. The fact that this film relied solely on natural lighting throughout the entire production is astonishing. The use of minimal CGI enhancement is something to be proud of.
Very few films I see nowadays leave me feeling that I have seen more than just a film, something that transcends into a beautiful, haunting, disturbing and uncompromising experience. “The Revenant” is one of those.
(Rated R for strong frontier combat and violence, including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.