Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant is his seventh feature film and it is a tremendous feat in filmmaking. Coming off of 2015’s Birdman, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Many film lovers such as myself were very interested to see what he does next.
The Revenant tells the incredible and brutal survival story of fur trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass. It takes place in 1823 in the inhospitable winter environment of what is now Minnesota and South Dakota. The story is relatively simple. A man losing everything and seeking revenge. Which we have seen many times before. However the directing, cinematography and performances make it so much more than the sum of its parts.
The entire film was filmed using exclusively natural light and with a runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes, it is immensely impressive. Furthermore, there are many long sweeping tracking shots with mostly practical effects. All together they made for some of the most beautiful and immersive cinematography I saw in 2015.
The Revenant relies greatly upon the acting of Leonardo DiCaprio. As most of the scenes with Hugh Glass are in silence, in another language or in freezing temperatures and DiCaprio knocked it out of the park. He was able to show a lot of humanity, fear and desperation while also show a lot of pain and angry. There is a four to five minute long sequence that involves DiCaprio and a bear and I won’t spoil it for you but it definitely is one of the highlights of this film. DiCaprio’s Oscar win was definitely well deserved.
The rest of the performances were also very good, including Tom Hardy’s portrayal of John Fitzgerald which was terrific. The Revenant is an enthralling survival film with some of the best filmmaking of 2015. In a time where originality and unique storytelling in Hollywood is scarce seeing a film taking risks and be daring is something I, as a film lover appreciate. This is why I feel The Revenant deserves your attention.