From 20th Century Fox and director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) comes The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter. The movie, based on the novel from Michael Punke, is set for limited release December 25th and wide theatrical release January 8th.
An injured trapper (Leonardo DiCaprio) must survive through a hostile environment, a brutal winter and warring American Indians to finally take his revenge against the traitorous partner (Tom Hardy) who left him for dead. Inspired by true events.
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu made one of the most interesting films of 2014 – Birdman, so The Revenant was high on a lot of people’s radars. Was this finally going to be THE MOVIE that nabs Leo DiCaprio that Oscar? Is it finally Leo’s time? Probably not. But I will tell you one thing – The Revenant looks astounding and there’s a scene with a bear that just may be the most frightening movie moment of 2015. Play dead Leo! Just play dead for the love of God.
Inspired by the true story of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, the film recounts how a tracker, played of course by DiCaprio is mauled viciously and I do mean viciously then left for dead by his men. He winds up surviving the attack somehow and sets off to get his revenge. Tom Hardy plays the villain here and I think a lot of people may overlook his brilliant supporting performance because of all the hype surrounding DiCaprio’s and that’s too bad. Hardy has truly had a miracle acting year (Mad Max Fury Road, Legend) and his part in The Revenant was uncompromising and just as fierce as the leading man’s.
There apparently was an incident on the set while filming The Revenant where director Iñárritu had a wrestling match with Hardy and it turned into some sort of weird fight. Apparently while filming The Revenant, due to the harsh weather conditions, tension was high for all the performers and crew. They filmed this thing using all natural light and they did it in the wilderness outside Calgary, Alberta. I love the locations they used – as I live close to that area I could only see Calgary and not really Texas, but it still worked and because of this, The Revenant easily becomes one of the most visually splendid movies of the year.
What didn’t work was some of the pacing in the second half. After such a remarkable action sequence that takes place right at the beginning of the film where a group of Natives attack the fur traders camp, nothing ever comes close to that battle later on. The Grizzly attack on DiCaprio was brutal as shit but when we watch this man slowly recover from his horrifying wounds, it becomes a little too much. I started to get weary after all of the hallucination sequences.
DiCaprio doesn’t say much during the film and he doesn’t need to. The intensity he brings to this part is more than enough to garner him a nod for the leading Oscar but I still believe his role in The Wolf of Wall Street was his best chance to date and that time has passed. The Revenant was stunning, violent and engrossing as hell but in the end it’s still a simple revenge film that just doesn’t pull any punches. That bear attack though…. That damn bear attack. I’ve never seen anything like that before. The effects were so impressive and the attack itself by the animal is the most realistic and frightening sequence in film existence that deals with a bear. I’m still haunted from it. Go see The Revenant and remember when you’re hiking that if you see bear cubs – get the hell out of that forest quickly dammit!