Photo credit: Kimberly French /Courtesy: 20th Century Fox
(PCM) There is already strong buzz that The Revenant will be a strong contender as we head into awards season, as it has already been nominated for four Golden Globe awards including Best Drama and a well-deserved Best Actor nod for star Leonardo DiCaprio. The film, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, did an absolutely brilliant job of showcasing the raw emotion and intensity that main character Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) must endure to survive the horrific ordeal splayed out before him in the film.
The film is based off the true story of Hugh Glass and set in an 1820’s American West. Glass was a trapper who, after his hunting party is viciously attacked by Native Americans, takes off with a group of survivors in search of a remote military outpost. During the search, Glass is savagely attacked by a bear and left fighting for his life, which is one of the most intense and brutal scenes in the film. He is discovered by the other members of his hunting party who make an attempt to rescue him, however they need to leave him behind when nature conditions become too intense to continue.
Three men, including Glass’s son Hawk, agree to stay behind the group for a few days to care for Glass, who they feel is very near death at this point. One of the other men that agree to stay behind is John Fitzgerald played by actor Tom Hardy, who villainously has his own agenda when it comes to ensuring Glass’s safety and ultimately commits the ultimate act of betrayal. Glass, however is blessed with the will to live and guided by the spirit of his dead wife, a Pawnee Indian woman whose life was taken in a raid by white men, who reminds him to never stop breathing.
Director Iñárritu has a way of being able to showcase the art of beauty in both chaos and death and did so with great finesse throughout the course of this film. From a strictly visual standpoint the film is stunning, showcasing the epic filming locations in both the Canadian Rockies and the Argentinian wilderness. While it may be beautiful to behold, nature becomes yet another grueling obstacle that Glass must overcome during his quest for both survival and revenge and becomes a very cruel and unforgiving character in this film.
Iñárritu made sure that viewers were able to truly feel at one with Glass and we felt as if we were truly suffering right alongside him as he made his journey across the icy rivers and snowy mountains facing as seemingly unending number of horrors along the way. Due in large part to the terrific performance from DiCaprio many of these scenes were able to play out with very little dialogue forcing the viewer even further into Glass’s intense internal struggle and the many often gruesome lengths he was forced to go in order to survive.
The moments on-screen between Glass and Fitzgerald are gripping and Hardy deserves his own nod for taking on this incredibly heartless and self-serving character, a type we have seen him portray in several other films, and breathe in new life for this particular villain. Their final confrontation is fantastic and bloody spectacle and the balance between these two characters is spot-on.
Overall, The Revenant is an incredibly visceral and gut-wrenching experience not only for the characters, but for the audience as well and we are left to form our own conclusions when all is said and done.