Directed by reigning best director Alejandro G. Iñárritu for last year’s best picture Birdman, The Revenant completely caught me by surprise. There is a lot more to the film than what the promotional materials have shown us. Not only did it deliver an epic and thought provoking movie promised by the trailer, it captivated me throughout its 156 minute running time with intriguing storytelling, visceral atmosphere, solid performances, thrilling battle scenes and one intense, brutal sequence of tour de force film-making involving a grizzly bear.
Set in 1823 Montana and inspired by true events, the movie follows the extraordinary experiences and adventure of fur trapper Hugh Glass during an expedition in the american wilderness. After he was brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by his own hunting team, Glass miraculously survived and crawled hundreds of miles across the storms of South Dakota to exact revenge against the man who killed his son.
Along the way, he was chased by hostile american tribe whose chief was looking for his kidnapped daughter, ate raw bison and roots, travel through a blizzard, jumped off a cliff, and in one truly memorable scene, slept inside a torso of a dead horse.
Will he survive throughout the incredible ordeal and culminate revenge against the man who killed his son?
The Revenant is classic tale of revenge, survival and the power of the human spirit; it is also a stirring tribute to both the beauty and harshness of mother nature. Technically, it is an impressive achievement of combined practical effects and cgi, and in-your-face camera work and immersive cinematography from Emmanuel Lumbezski, who worked with Iñárritu on Birdman. To film buffs, all of these might recall films of Malick and Gibson (The New World and Apocalypto comes to mind).
As for DiCaprio, he left no stone unturned. He really put his all in the film and deserve all the accolade he has and will surely receive as a result of his grueling, masterful performance.
The Revenant also stars Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck, Will Poulter, Lukas Haas. Rated R for strong violence, language and brief nudity. 156 minutes.