Every few years a film comes across that reminds the viewer why they love movies. Far in between that comes a film that gives us something that we did not know we wanted. 2015 boasts a few films that could’ve been that champion. The film that filled that bill plus the tip was The Revenant.
The Revenant, based on the novel by the same name, is an epic revenge drama set in a brutal winter of 1800’s America. A Native American tribe looking for a kidnapped tribe member, sends a company of pelt hunters fleeing for their lives in uncharted territory. The company's hired navigator, Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, is tasked to find a new route back to base. After a vicious bear mauling, Glass is left for dead by the rascal of the group, Tom Hardy’s Fitzgerald. Only Glass lived to fight another day and seeks justice.
I want to start off by saying that Alejandro G. Inarritu directed the shit out of this. Insisting on using only natural lighting to make this movie, cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki was tasked with a phenomenal feat. In the end, it payed off tremendously. The tones and color pallets of the film felt real and personal. The viewing experience of the dynamic backdrops of Earth's naked body on screen instantly grab you and hold you in fetal position. The way Inarritu moves the camera through this environment is as effortless and deliberate as nature itself. Who could of imagined that horse chases could be as exhilarating as super cars jumping between buildings? The suspense of a shoot out using muskets vs bows and arrows makes the stakes as high possible. Inarritu is a force and a wild man exploring the wilderness of cinema.
The performances from the leads are above and beyond. In 2015 Tom Hardy gave us 4 amazing performance in 3 totally different kinds of films. First in Mad Max: Fury Road, then 2 lead roles in Legend, finally Fitzgerald in The Revenant. In this film, its very easy to forget he’s an actor and think youre watching How To Make A Murderer in the 1800’s. The conviction in the deliveries as hes trying to rationalize his actions are genuinely from Fitzgerald. But when you’re acting across Leonardo DiCaprio, you have to bring the highest ability possible. DiCaprio came to this role in tip top form. A good majority of the film he doesnt even speak, he emotes. With his eyes and body and sounds DiCaprio was able to get across his state of being. After numerous Oscar nominations, I hope The Academy doesnt treat Leo’s performance in this film like the bear did.