“He’s afraid. He knows how far I came to find him.”– Hugh Glass
In Academy Award winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s first film following Birdman’s huge success, the story of legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass is brought to life sourced from the pages of Michael Punke’s novel The Revenant. Leading the cast of this true to life tale of love, courage and redemption is the ever brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio in arguably his best role to date as Hugh Glass, who went through many gruelling tasks to fulfil this role such as sleeping in an animal carcass and eating raw fish and bison liver. Supported by a stellar cast, notably Tom Hardy as the ferociously evil antagonist John Fitzgerald, but also strong performances from Domnhall Gleeson (Ex Machina) and Will Poulter (We’re The Millers) really boost this film.
The Beauty of It All.
With surely soon to be a 3 time Oscar winning cinematographer Emmanuel ‘Chievo’ Lubezki making the landmark decision to film The Revenant in all natural light, it became apparent early on that this was going to be a truly beautiful piece of cinema. Lubezki has created one of the best, if not the best looking film of all time; there is not a single shot in The Revenant which does not look spectacular. Along with Iñárritu’s excellent directing and Lubezki’s amazing cinematography; legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was brought in to score the film, and it is truly an achievement. Sakamoto did an excellent job in capturing the film’s essence with his score, furthering the viewer’s emotions towards Glass’s redemption through music just furthered the film’s all round excellence.
Performances to Come Back to Life For.
Whilst much of the buzz around The Revenant is it’s drop dead looks and it’s fascinating story, this film might finally bring Leonardo DiCaprio that well documented search for an Oscar. His performance as Glass was spellbinding, a shining light during a year where many performances were below par in some of the year’s biggest films. It is not what Glass says that is the brilliance; it is the steely determination to show that love and redemption have no boundaries. Not all about old Leo though, Tom Hardy’s performance as John Fitzgerald is also fantastic; using the same pure vindictiveness he brought to Bane, and creating a villain the viewer just loves to hate. At times Hardy gives a performance of such frightening ferocity that it’s hard to believe he has gone almost unnoticed in this awards season until his first ever Oscar nomination, however in context of the film he really does provide the balance with DiCaprio’s Glass. As well as Hardy, Domnhall Gleeson and Will Poulter both provide moments of excellence, as Andrew Henry and Jim Bridger respectively.
The Revenant has gone down in history as one of the longest and most gruelling shoots in cinematic history, which included several mutinies from the crew and pushed the cast and director to their absolute limits, but to create a film of this sheer beauty and magnitude, sacrifices must be made; and in the end it is impossible to argue that it wasn’t worth it, as The Revenant truly is a spectacular piece of cinema and will surely add to it’s 3 Golden Globes at this years Oscars, expecting to pick up Best Director, Leading Actor and Cinematography, if not even the big one in Best Picture.
Words by Elliott Jones