Just when you thought 2015 was over……….. At the end of the year, it looked like my Top 10 list was finalised with Mad Max sitting at the top, but then along comes Alexandro Gonzalez Inarritu with ‘The Revenant’ just snatching that top spot. This movie was phenomenal, it managed to do everything perfectly and is the best, and most polished film of the year. The Revenant is an Action/Adventure/Drama that is a story of survival and revenge as Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is left for dead by his crew and is forced to survive some of the harshest conditions on earth. This film had; incredible performances, beautiful cinematography, an engaging story, was perfectly paced, a fantastic score, intense and gritty action, and amazingly directed. There was not a single thing in this film i thought didn’t fit or that i didn’t like, i was completely mesmerised and in awe for the entire 2 hour and 36 minute runtime, and i just wanted more and more. This was just a fully immersive experience that you can expect to see make a huge impact at the Oscars come February in multiple categories. Inarritu’s directing really is fantastic and he has a very good chance of going back to back Oscars with this one.
I will start with the performances because both Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio were exceptional in their roles, but DiCaprio really did just steal the show from everyone else. It really is a shame that this guy has not won a Best Actor Oscar yet because he is one of the best working today, and there are many reasons as to why he is my favourite actor. He can literally transform into any role, like in this film, not once did i see the guy from Inception, or Titanic, i saw a physically and emotionally destroyed Hugh Glass. It really was a flawless performance by DiCaprio, you could understand everything this guy was going through just by looking at his face, when he was shown in excruciating pain i actually believed that he was in a world of pain. It was such a good performance that you feel like you are being dragged on this journey with him, and when something good happens you are relieved, and when something bad happens it really hurts. Now, the big question on everyones minds; will he win the Oscar this year? From what i have seen this year, if Michael Fassbender does not get nominated for Macbeth then i believe he will finally win the Oscar. Otherwise, if Fassbender is nominated for Macbeth, as much as it would hurt, i would be rooting against DiCaprio.
Tom Hardy was also fantastic as John Fitzgerald, he was also very unrecognisable and put in one of his strongest performances, but because of how amazing DiCaprio was, he probably won’t get the recognition he deserves, although i hope he does. I also have to give a shout out to Domhnall Gleeson who has had a busy but also amazing year. He was absolutely amazing in Ex Machina, he was great in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and now he put in a fantastic performance in The Revenant. I can’t wait to see more leading roles from Gleeson because this guy has proved to me that he has some seriously diverse acting talents. Will Poulter was also pretty good in this film, i’m not a big fan of him but he has a long way to go, and his performance in this tells me that he’s improving.
The cinematography in this film was absolutely stunning. Every shot was perfectly framed and the use of long tracking shots in action scenes and dialogue scenes was incredible. Also the long still shots on one of the actors’ faces was fantastic as you really get to feel their performances and what the characters are going through just by focusing on their expressions for a period of time. The choice by Inarritu to film on location in the forest and use only natural light really made the film look incredibly beautiful and natural. The cinematographer on this film (Emmanuel Lubezki) was also the cinematographer on Inarritu’s last film ‘Birdman’, and the cinematography in that film was my favourite aspect of it, and the reason it won the Oscar. I can definitely see Lubezki being a huge contender for the Best Cinematography Oscar again this year, that is if ‘Macbeth’ doesn’t put up a fight. The score was also notably fantastic, on its own it may not be the best musical piece but when it is put together with this film it is amazing, and i constantly found myself really engaged and actually focusing on the score because of how powerful it sounded. Should it be nominated for best score/soundtrack? Yes. I’m not sure if it would win but it is one of my favourites of the year.
I want to highlight the action in this film because it was bloody, gritty, gruesome, and incredibly shot. This is one of the only films i have seen where you feel every punch, every gunshot, every cut. When DiCaprio is attacked by the bear (in the trailer) you feel every cut and the way the action is all shot with mostly one continuous shot just sucks you in to the scene. This film did something spectacular with the action that many films are not able to do, even war films. Usually when someone gets shot, whether it is a main or secondary character, you don’t really feel the impact or shock that you should, it just kinda happens and you see blood and you’re like “huh, he got shot”. But here, when random characters you have never seen before get shot or cut it really hits you and you feel the impact of the guns/arrows and there are quite a few moments where it is so bloody you just can’t look away. The action was very confronting and realistic, and it didn’t shy away from anything, definitely not for the squeamish type.
The plot of this film was such a gripping story of survival and revenge that i was fully invested right until the very end. None of it was predictable in any way, this film had surprises hidden at every corner and it keeps you wanting to find out what happens next constantly. It was based on a true story, i am not sure how loosely based it was but it definitely felt like a very original plot that was a powerful and moving story. You really get behind and understand the motivations and ways of thinking of the characters and the decisions they make, and none of it felt silly or dumb. The pacing of the film was also on point the whole way through. Not once did i want the film to move on and not once did i think the film was moving too fast. They gave a perfect amount of time to every character, to every location, and to every action scene and dialogue scene. If this was 15 minutes longer it would have been too long and if it was 15 minutes shorter, it would have felt rushed in some parts.
So in the end, this is an amazing film that should definitely be experienced on the big screen as it is a truly immersive film that sucks you in from start to finish. It is another stellar performance from Leaonardo DiCaprio and the film overall will most likely make a huge impact at the Oscars in multiple categories, so look out for that.