The Revenant - Opinion
I was already sold on this film by its amazing trailer. It completely immersed me in the world the film created and I was very hopeful for the film itself. As from my previous post on movie trailers, this was a perfect trailer and I was ready to see this film in its completeness.
Alejandro Iñaritu’s “The Revenant” is yet another masterfully directed and gorgeously shot film that truly pushes its cast to their limits, with marvellous results. It has all of Iñaritu’s trademarks you might have come across in his prior work, from the meditation on the environment of the film to his signature camera work that places his subject uncomfortably close to the viewer while also letting us see the landscape surrounding him/her. I think he uses some sort of fish-eye lens to achieve this effect, but I’m not sure; No matter, the effect created by these type of shots works perfectly to achieve his vision.
Perhaps more than even Iñaritu’s direction, most media buzz has surrounded the performance of lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio starring as Hugh Glass, the legendary fur trapper/frontiersman, and to an extent, Tom Hardy as well. (Side Note: I’m so happy for Tom Hardy right now! Ever since his memorable role in Inception, he’s been doing solid gold films, from Mad Max: Fury Road to this. All the best for the future, Tom!) Well, the hype does not lie. DiCaprio gives Iñaritu his complete self for this film, physically and mentally, but arguably more physically. From running in waist-deep water in freezing temperatures to eating real Bison liver and getting mauled by a bear (The last one is the only of the three that used special effects. He actually did eat the liver of a Bison, and his reaction definitely shows it.) Anticipation is high for him to finally win that ever-elusive Oscar, and for his sake I truly hope he wins. DiCaprio pushes himself to his limits in this film as an actor as well, admirably rendering all manner of emotions possible for a man stuck in the cold and left for dead. It was refreshing to see Tom Hardy using an accent other than his own (Bane doesn’t count, that’s just his own accent with a sprinkle of Sean Connery.) He pulls it off rather well.
To me, however, the most memorable aspect of the film along with DiCaprio’s performance is the cinematography. Iñaritu worked with Emmanuel Lubezki to film in remote locations like Alberta, Canada completely in natural light. It definitely shows in the film and adds a sense of depth and grounded realism in the events that take place, which is also helped by Iñaritu’s signature camera work. The style in which “The Revenant” is quite discernable from that of Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight”, which was shot in Panavision 70mm, as opposed to fully digital photography which Lubezki uses in “The Revenant”. Lubezki’s photography features crystal clear white snow and discernable motion thanks to the higher shutter speed on the cameras, while Tarantino’s film’s photography features classic 60’s/70’s film grain and extremely wide exterior shots of snowy covered regions.
The film is often brutal, especially the one scene where a bear mauls Hugh Glass, taking away flesh from him, but is juxtaposed to the beautiful snowy woodlands to create this mystical effect I can’t quite explain, but I was completely immersed in the film’s world, as the trailer had done to me before. The film takes its time to build on moments of Glass’s survival of the elements, and ultimately is a compelling film for anyone who loves to go to the theatres just to get lost in the worlds filmmakers create. I look forward to Iñaritu’s future work. Thanks a lot!