The Revenant is a simple revenge drama. It is inspired by the book, of the same name, written by Michael Punk, which was inspired by the life of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who is motivated not by revenge, as depicted in this movie, but, simply by a desire to get his furs back.
But, revenge makes for a more engaging movie, or so the team that created this movie must have thought.
Let's first address the most important reason why this movie has been on the watchlist of the majority of the people, including me, an admirer of Leonardo DiCaprio. This is supposed to be the film that finally gets him the elusive and his first Academy Award. Like most of his movies, Leo does deliver an intense performance. Looking at it as an "individual performance" it is clearly visible that he has given it his all and put in a lot of effort, like he always does. His performance is mainly physical, as he mouths only a few dialogues, most of which are in a tribal language. Eats raw bison liver and sleeps inside an animal carcass. Such acts, require determination, not acting skills. If any other actor was to play this role, then even he would have done so. Taking all this into account, I feel that this performance is behind many of his previous and more Oscar-deserving roles. The main reason behind this is that, when you compare it to those previous ones, it becomes abundantly clear, that this performance is like a collage of some of his previous ones. From an acting point of view, he has never experimented a lot and his always restricted himself to a particular kind of serious roles, which he has undoubtedly excelled at. But , he has hardly ever done anything innovative. Unfortunately, he does the same, in this movie too and this year with other brilliant performances in the mix, Leo's performance, doesn't seem like a front-runner, who deserves to win, now.
The star for me was, Tom Hardy, as Glass'comrade, John Fitzgerald, who leaves him for dead, kills his half-Indian son, and robs him of his furs. He is the most gifted actor of his generation and he puts his acting skills on display, yet again.He perfects his western accent. He beautifully expresses his character's varying feelings, from the bottled frustration of staying back to look after a nearly-dead Glass; to the shock and pain of realizing when he accidentally kills Glass' son; to the feeling of paranoia of being caught for his deeds; Hardy carries himself with authority and dominates which ever scene he is in. It is unfortunate, that he is not getting as much praise as Leo, when he truly deserves more.
Cinematography & Background Score
A third consecutive Oscar nomination for cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki— who films in such exotic areas as Chile's Tierra del Fuego and also parts of Alberta, British Columbia and Montana, seems imminent. He also deserves to win it.It is one of the 2 reasons, that raises the level of the movie and makes it a must watch on the big screen. Those beautiful mountains and gleaming rivers in the sunlight, on the big screen, will be an experience worth remembering.
The background score had a raw and tribal feel to it. The most invigorating score, since The Last of the Mohicans, that is sure to pump up the adrenaline during the battle scenes and give us chills during the more tragic and sensitive scenes.
Alejandoro González Iñárritu is the Picasso of modern cinema. He is a creative genius. Each and every single frame was like a beautifully and patiently drawn painting. If, Birdman (2014) was him using the camera in such a subtle way that the entire movie appeared to be like one large painting; The Revenant too is extremely realistic, although, compared to Birdman, it is much more violent and raw, which was to be expected, because of the several scenes that involved battle and bloodshed. It requires a special kind of genius to portray even such scenes, that would normally be gory, as precisely made brush strokes on a canvas. His direction complemented the cinematography, perfectly. It turned The Revenant from a 156- minute long slow period revenge drama into a visual spectacle to be experienced and remembered for the rest of our lives.
If this movie deserves an Oscar, it is only for the Best Director.
Mr. Iñárritu is the rarest of the rare breed of talented individuals. He is man of great vision and aesthetics, as can be seen not only by The Revenant and Birdman, but, also by the movies that he directed prior to these. His talent is to be cherished. We can expect even greater things from him in the future.
The Revenant is Alejandoro González Iñárritu's most brutally realistic movie till date. The way that he has captured the actor's performances and the beautiful landscapes, will propel The Revenant to break to great heights in the history of Hollywood. It is his direction, that puts the performances by the lead pair and every other technical element in the film, on a higher pedestal for everyone to see and admire.
Kudos to him and the entire team, for shooting in such trying conditions and presenting us with an experience of a lifetime.
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