The Revenant: An Ice Cold Wilderness

The Revenant

Once again Alejandro Inarritu is in a position to win another Oscar for best film after his previous success of Birdman. The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, finds itself sitting atop the Oscar nominations list with 12.

The Revenant is based on the story of Hugh Glass, an American fur trapper abandoned and left to die by his companions after a bear attack. Glass, despite rotting flesh, infection and broken bones, is able to track his way across 200 miles of hostile Northwestern wilderness to seek revenge.

This film, directed by Inarritu and Terrence Malick, truly tests DiCaprio’s ability to act. Malick’s signature wide shots of wilderness and the use  of close trees and branches for perspective along with Inarritu’s ability to extract emotion out of an audience creates a masterpiece of film. The Revenant is a true survival chronicle in which Glass is put through test after test.

The Revenant
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu after winning best picture for “Birdman” at the Oscars. Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The film is able to make an audience feel uncomfortable and have a sense of realism with specific shots. DiCaprio’s character doesn’t seem to catch a break throughout the film; he’s forced to submerse himself in freezing water over and over as well as eat anything he can get his hands on, such as raw Buffalo liver or rotten bone marrow.

DiCaprio was all in on his acting performance in this film. He was acting like he wanted that Oscar really badly this year.

Wide shots of the breathtaking wilderness give you peace and tranquility, but at the same time remind you that humans do not belong there. Leo is able to take that to the next level by relating to the wilderness while showing the pain that it can cause you.

Between the intense action sequences there can be long, drawn out and confusing contemplative scenes. At these times the viewer will urge the film to move, but in some cases, I got flat out annoyed. There are sentimental portions of the film where Inarritu puts Glass on the edge of death. Other sentimental, wide-shot and picturesque scenes get boring and do not progress the storyline. It does make the mountains of the Northwest look gorgeous, so it’s got that going for it.

There is no counting the amount of ledges Glass goes over or the amount of catastrophes that strike him over that 200 mile trek. The amount of brutal honesty shown in his wounds, infections and heartbreak does not make this film for the faint of heart. Oh, and Tom Hardy does a fantastic job in playing the villain, John Fitzgerald.

The Revenant
Tom Hardy plays John Fitzgerald in The Revenant

Overall, I will give the film an 81/100. Through the breathtaking and thought-provoking shots the viewer could catch themselves asking why or telling the film to move on. That alone shouldn’t take away from this amazing survival thriller. If I was an Oscar voter, there is no doubt that I would vote DiCaprio best actor for his amazing, gut-wrenching and emotion-grabbing performance. As far as movie of the year is concerned? I think Inarritu and Malick did a fantastic job but there were many editing inconsistencies that left too many questions remaining. Their directing styles played off of each other well and make the viewer happy that they are in a warm and cozy theater watching the film. I recommend going to see it in theaters if you have to see all of the Oscar films before the Academy Awards on February 28. Other than that, I recommend waiting for it to come out on Redbox or On Demand.