After bringing his awesome film Birdman to the big screen and critical acclaim last year director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is back this time teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and Will Poulter for the film The Revenant. The trailers for the film have been engaging and intense, but does it offer up even more than the trailer lets on or will it be a journey not worth surviving?
The Revenant follows an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, where legendary explorer Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald. Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption. To say this film lives up to and surpasses what the trailer promises is an understatement. The story isn’t overly complicated, but is packed full of every range of emotion and physicality that you have to witness to believe. This is more than just a film but an emotionally intense experience for the audience.
The cast is superb with DiCaprio giving easily the best performance of his career which is saying something as he is always great. He gives everything he has to this role making you feel his struggles and determination to survive despite everything against him. In the trailer you see that he is attacked by a bear which is essentially the initial catalyst that sets things up, but this attack is so much more brutal than you can imagine and goes on for at least 5 minutes if not longer. It is cringe worthy and seeing DiCaprio react to it and commit to the amount of physical torment he has to endure to make the role come to life. He has very little dialogue and still packs so much into his performance that it has to be seen to believe. Tom Hardy brings his A game to the film as well offering up the perfect bad guy of sorts that is really only doing what he thinks is right to survive. Domhnall Gleeson fresh off his great turn as General Hux in The Force Awakens brings the perfect bridge between the two characters as the leader of the expedition and looks to keep things on the up and up but doing what needs to be done. The rest of the cast all bring excellence to their roles bringing it all together to perfection.
For a film filled with such brutality it is a stunning visual treat. The sweeping landscapes capped with layers of snow, forests and raging rivers become a character all its own. Each of these elements play into the story as much as the actors themselves serving as both the way they live and the dangers of the time, but also that which is against them at every turn. There is a gritty tone to these visuals that capture the dire reality of the story, but also the realism of where they are at. While the landscape visuals are magnificent the harsh reality of what he goes through is graphically violent. As if the bear attack wasn’t already violent enough, this is just the beginning. There are a ton of brutal attacks they have to deal with from Indians on their own mission as well as the feuds between each other. The blood flows almost to the point of a horror film at times, but in a way that brings the realism of this story and situations to gory true life.
This is one of those rare films that is edge of your seat at times, but constantly a beautifully violent piece of film brilliance. From the moment this film kicks off it never lets up and leads all the way up to a final scene that is the perfect final moment to encompass everything before it. For years DiCaprio has been either looked over or nominated for much deserved awards, but thanks to his brilliant performance here he finally got that well deserved best actor Acadmey Award win. This release doesn’t feature much bonus content, but it’s worth it just to experience the film alone. Step into a journey of betrayal and survival when The Revenant comes to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on April 19th as well as Digital HD available now from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.