Tonight is the biggest night in film – The Oscars! “The Revenant” is up for Best Picture and is one of the three Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen. I also saw “The Martian” and “Bridge of Spies”, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I saw “The Revenant” last month, but didn’t have a chance to write a review on it so I thought today was as good a day as any to share my thoughts on the film!
First off, the acting in this movie is absolutely incredible. This movie is intense and I can’t imagine filming in the conditions these actors were in. For those of you who don’t know what the movie’s about – it’s about a group of fur trappers in the 1820s. Leonardo DiCaprio serves as a guide to these men and is mauled by a bear and left for dead. It’s inspired by true events, which always appeals to me!
I mentioned above that the acting was incredible. The actors in the movie are well-known for their acting abilities – you’ve got Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, and more. And they’ve been placed on location, in the winter, in Alberta, Canada. Talk about working in brutal conditions! I read somewhere that this movie took a while to film because they wanted to film it all on location and with natural light. In fact, in an interview with Variety, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki said that it was shot in almost 100% natural light. One reason being, “We wanted to make a movie that was immersive and visceral,” Lubezki tells Variety. “The idea of using natural light came because we wanted the audience to feel, I hope, that this stuff is really happening.”
The movie also filmed scenes in chronological order, which as I hear is not very common. However, director Alejandro G. Inarritu, insisted it be shot in chronological order to help the actors understand the emotions their characters were feeling better. He told Yahoo, “I’m not investing in visual effects, but emotional effects,”. And let me tell you, this movie is definitely an emotionally heavy film. Not emotionally heavy in the sense that you’ll be crying or that it’s heartbreaking, but in the sense that you really feel like you’re on this intense journey with the characters and their journey is so dark and lonely. I mean, think about it – Leonardo DiCaprio spends a majority of the film trying to survive in the wilderness by himself after being mauled by a bear. The only thing keeping him alive is his need to get revenge. He literally drags himself on the ground for a time. It’s because of this that I think that DiCaprio is totally deserving of the Best Actor Academy Award. Not only did he totally immerse himself in this character and do an incredible job acting in a tough environment, but the acting was out of this world. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to act and react to things on your own. For a large part of the movie, he’s alone traveling through the wilderness and braving the elements, people, and animals that are trying to kill him. He even ate raw bison liver, for real, for the role! If that’s not commitment, then I don’t know what is!
The tension between DiCaprio and Hardy will keep you on the edge of your seat and the whole movie is a visual masterpiece. The natural setting with it’s winter bleakness is symbolic of the movie as a whole and highlights what this man will do to survive.