Opening 7 Jan 2016
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Writing credits: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Michael Punke
Principal actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck
A revenant is a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living, and in the film of the same name with the (potential Oscar winning) performance by Leonardo DiCaprio, we see human spirit confront and overcome terror as it is masterfully played out in this season’s must see movie.
Award winning director (and writer) Alejandro Inarritu brings to the screen the 1820’s true story of Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a frontiersman who makes his way back to civilization, seeking revenge after being left for dead, following a bear mauling in the wilderness.
Inarritu’s use of only natural light in the filming of the story makes for sumptuous realistic viewing. The grittiness, the dirt and the filth of the human condition make a potent contrast to the spirit and survival instinct in DiCaprio’s character. The director captures the viewer in frame after frame of bitterly cold primeval forest, sub-zero frozen mountain passes and shiveringly frigid waters that Glass wades to make his way back home. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezi is thoughtfully and exquisitely done.
John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) plays the evil protagonist opposite Glass. The final scene between these two characters is so engaging that it leaves you gasping for air having won the battle for survival.
Inarritu’s directorial process of filming the story in chronological order provides all the actors a powerful crescendo to build on as they deliver wonderful performances.
Raw. Visceral. Compelling. This film delivers a strong testament of the power and strength of human will to live. (Abby Myers)
The fabled story of fur trapper and frontiersman, Hugh Glass, reads like the unfathomable stuff of tall tales. Shot in stunning detail, Iñárritu and Smith’s take (Glass’ story was already meagerly played out by Richard Harris in Man in the Wilderness, 1971) in this survival thriller is one of this season’s must-see films (if you can stomach the gory bear mauling sequence and initial bloody fight scenes). DiCaprio plays Glass, who, accompanied by his half-Pawnee son, has been hired by a furring expedition because of his skill as a scout through the wilderness they must traverse. Glass is soon mauled by a Grizzly and sustains deadly injuries. He’s betrayed and left for dead by the two men (Fitzgerald and Bridger played by Hardy and Poulter, respectively) charged with caring for him and giving him a “proper burial when the time comes.” Against all odds, including wild animals, hostile Native tribes, cruel French traders, grueling terrain and weather conditions, Glass eventually finds his way to an American fort where he recuperates and sets back out in the cold to seek revenge.
Hardy, already nominated for his supporting role, convincingly plays the villain responsible for the murder of Glass’ son and for abandoning him to die alone in the cold. Poulter’s portrayal of the naive and good-hearted junior member of the team is also noteworthy. Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) is one of the rising stars who’s getting a lot of screen time in some recent blockbusters. Even with an Oscar-worthy lead and an equally stellar cast, the cinematography and director’s vision deserve a serious nod. From the fern-blanketed forests of British Columbia to snowy mountains in Argentina, what’s been captured on film to the tune of $135 million is worth every penny. (Based on book by Michael Punke) Iñárritu has been quoted : “When you see the film, you will see the scale of it. And you will say, ’Wow.’ ” And he’s absolutely right. (Ericka Seifried)