Release: January 8, 2016
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Screenplay: Mark L. Smith & Alejandro G. Iñárritu, based in part on the novel by Michael Punke
Producers: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, James W. Skotchdopole, Keith Redmon
Original Music by: Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
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Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) 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 (Tom Hardy). 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. THE REVENANT is directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker, Academy Award® winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel).
There is an old Chinese proverb that states "He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself." The Revenant, led by another tour de force performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, seems to have this proverb at the core of its soul. Set in the uncharted territories of 1800's America, this is the story of Hugh Glass, scout and tracker for a pelting expedition caught between home and a tribe of Ree Indians bent on finding an item of great worth. The Ree are a savage lot and their attack on the camp early in the film sets the tone for the level of violence this film will contain.
After Glass is viciously mauled by a bear, the expedition, depleted by the attacks, must make a decision. get Glass to safety or leave him behind. Standing firmly on the side of leaving him behind is John Fitzgerald, played brilliantly by Tom Hardy. Irreversible events occur that set off a chain of events that will lead to an eventual showdown between Glass and Fitzgerald.
Stunning cinematography creates images of landscapes that are beautiful but that stand in stark contrast to the brutal events of the story. In addition, the camera angles utilized by director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, put the audience in the middle of the action in such a way that we are made to feel the fear one would feel when chased down by a bear or an attacking tribe of Ree. In all aspects of this film, Inarritu sets his camera in the most intense spaces and dares us to turn away.
The result is a movie that moves at a methodical, purposeful pace, that while slow in places, needs to be for the story to be told correctly. There is very little dialogue over a majority of this film, and therein lies the challenge for some viewers. Inarritu asks that we trust him and allow ourselves to be drawn in by the expressions of pain, anguish and fury that cross the visages of our characters.
The final act of the film is contrived and even predictable. The denouement of the story is a little too convenient, but we almost welcome it after the brutality and intensity of the first two hours and fifteen minutes of this movie. The Revenant is a must see. It is a story worth watching, a journey worth enduring, and an experience worth having.