The revenant review
The revenant review

The Revenant – Leonardo DiCaprio at his best

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The Revenant is a concoction of mixing Leonardo DiCaprio at his best, mind-blowing imagery of immense natural beauty, and an epic tale of survival and justice.

When I hear the name Leonardo DiCaprio, I immediately know that a flick will be worth watching. Ever since Leo appeared in The Beach I have been following his career step-by-step, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one asking the question, ‘How has this man not won an Oscar yet?’

It seems that with every performance he delivers, he gets a little better. The Revenant is no exception.

 

The Revenant’s Plot

The plot of this movie is extremely unique. The story is set in the early days of America, when brave and tough men roamed the New World in packs, hunting, killing, pillaging and capturing what they could.

DiCaprio’s character is caught between two worlds. While a ranking member of a group of soldiers roaming the continent and engaging in less than ethical behavior, he also has a son with a Native American woman, who travels with him.

As the story progresses, we begin to see that DiCaprio’s men are less than fond of the fact that he has mixed with the Indians. This source of tension comes to a boiling point, leading to a tragic event which propels the story forward.

Without giving too much away, DiCaprio finds himself left for dead, brutally injured and alone in the North American wilderness. Having barely survived a horrific bear attack and witnessing something no man should ever have to see, he finds himself first crawling, then hobbling, then walking in search of rescue.

Along the way, he faces endless hurdles; hostile natives, ferocious wildlife, worsening injuries, a cold and bitter winter, and the grief and sadness that comes from betrayal and loss.

Will he find his way home and deliver justice?

Characters

The characters in this movie are intense and the acting is fantastic. Rugged men and ruthless tribes hell bent on revenge and killing make up almost the entire cast. The characters are immoral, selfish and brutal for the most part – just as their environment would cause them to behave.

Hugh Glass (DiCaprio’s character) has depth and is ‘torn between two worlds’; one of loyalty to his men and the other of love for his son. Both of these worlds are conveyed and explored flawlessly. As the plot thickens and we get a glimpse into his past, we see a man with haunting demons having endured immeasurable losses, yet retaining his will to live and overcome all odds.

John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) is portrayed as a racist, selfish animal driven by greed, hatred and fear combined. His character is repugnant, but an essential part of the plot, driving Hugh Glass forward in his quest to even the score.

Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) plays the part of a young man severed by what he has witnessed, struggling to keep it secret, dying inside to make things right. This character adds an element of morality, conscience and decency to the cast.

With an extended cast consisting of French Trappers, Native Americans on spiritual quests, loyal soldiers and various rag-tag characters trying to piece their lives together during the massive upheaval and conflict enveloping the continent, multiple perspectives are covered and a superb variety of characters drive the plot.

The full spectrum of deep human emotions is conveyed from grief and despair to hope and redemption.

Cinematography

This is one of the most visually attractive movies I have seen in the last few years. The haunting North American landscape is captured from an astounding variety of angles – from mighty ice cold rivers to dense, wintry forests.

The best word for the imagery of this movie is ‘haunting’. The viewer gets the sense that this is a continent of vast, unspeakable beauty, yet deadly, merciless consequences for those who do not respect her. It is a place where fortunes can change in an instant, and what lies around the next corner or over the next hill, nobody knows.

The shots made me want to immediately hop on a plane and head out into the wilderness of America.

I give this film 5 stars for capturing the essence of an entire continent at a certain period of time on film.

Summary

Could this finally be the film which lands Leonardo DiCaprio his long overdue Oscar? Certainly he is not the only star worthy of a nomination in this film.

With sublime imagery, a rich, complex plot and deep, multi-dimensional characters, The Revenant gets 5/5 from this viewer.

If half of the junk released today by Hollywood had even a modicum of what this movie offers, the world of film would be a much better place!.

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