Hey, Question: What do you get when you mix a mega Hollywood star/gifted actor like Leonardo DiCaprio, with visionary filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, and a period piece story about survival and revenge? Anyone? The Answer: An extraordinary motion picture called The Revenant! I wanted so badly to see this film for a few of reasons. One, because I love Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor. He is one of my favorite actors and he ALWAYS gives strong performances. He never once in his career ever gave a flimsy performance. He always gives 150%, And I respect him for that as an artist. He goes all in or not at all. The second reason is for the director Alejandro Iñárritu. His filmography screams that they were all made by someone with vision.
The story is adapted in part from the book The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke. It tells of a frontiersman named Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a group of men on a fur trapping expedition in the west during 1823, upon the already existing danger of being chased by a group of Natives who believe one of their own has been held captive by the group of men. It isn't until Glass is brutally attacked by a grizzly bear that he is thought to be on the verge of death, is left to the care of a few of his own men, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), while the others go on. Tom Hardy, this being his second collaboration with Leonardo since Inception, does incredibly well as the lead antagonist Fitzgerald! So many tremendously strong authentic performances. When Fitz kills Glass' son, Hawk, and he and Bridger leave Glass for dead to go on without him. He finds a long, painful and arduous road to recovery so that he is able to exact his justified revenge.
One cannot discuss this film without even mentioning how breathtaking the movie was photographed, done splendidly by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who also served as Alejandro's D.P. (Director of Photography) on 2014's Birdman. The biggest difference in this production, and the one that has everyone talking, is the use of nothing but natural light. Which served the film well without question as 90% of the picture takes places outdoors. So that every piece of landscape you see is vast and majestic, no matter what ugliness is going on within the frame. The film is still beautifully shot.
It's incredibly difficult not to rave about a motion picture that has a powerful story of survival, with a character who does whatever it takes to achieve vengeance, cinematography that is stunning to look but also very honest in what it's showing you, and a filmmaker that bleeds passion into what he injects into his visual story! I mean it's all a buzz about whether this could be Leonardo's year to finally an earn his much deserved Oscar, and you know what, if this picture doesn't earn him that Academy Award, it will force me to have little faith left in them and their decision making as to what is Oscar worthy. You owe it yourself to see The Revenant and go on that journey! Now playing in theaters!
The Revenant Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"