Writers: Mark L. Smith and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu
Based in part on the novel by Michael Punke, ‘The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge’.
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poutter and Domhnall Gleeson.
Revenant: A person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.
Hugh Glass (Di Caprio), is part of a furring team, out in the wintery wilderness of Montana. In the 1820’s, this was a fight for survival against the natives, against the cold, starvation and the wild animals.
After been attacked by a bear, Glass is left for dead, only to rise again to avenge the murder of his son.
I have to admit I was apprehensive about watching this film, thinking I’d be confronted with war-like graphic violence. If not for the beauty of the landscape captured by Emmanuel Lubezki (also cinematographer of Gravity (2013) and Birdman (2014)), this would have been a cruel film. Think dripping snow, captured leaves in ice, the endless sky and trees creaking and waving in the wind; a pack of wolves taking down a stray buffalo. The reality of nature is that it’s both a heaven and a horror.
The director, Alejandro (Birdman (2014), Babel (2006), Amores Perros (2000)), insisted on filming 93% of this movie at exterior locations – Calgary in Alberta, Canada, Montana, United States, and the southern tip of South America, Argentina. Di Caprio certainly earned his award with this one. Just the cold itself, and all those icy rivers…
Brutal humanity is likened to the harshness of a winter’s landscape. How quickly a human can turn to animal instinct for survival is a harsh reality of the characters of this film. People do what they have to, to survive. It’s a fight to stay human, to give food and shelter. A choice has to be made. And with cleverly executed filming and directing, we see Glass up close, we see his pain and his will to survive. We see others who give and others who take – it’s a harsh reality. This is a revenge movie after all, but I’m glad it was balanced with some light, the murmurings of a loved one, a bird taking flight, the sun reflected on snow.
I liked the flavour Alejandro gave the film. There is a real authenticity here, thanks to Di Caprio, but Alejandro has given the film something almost mystical. Nature untouched, is a bit like magic. The Native Americans believed in the will of the trees and the wind, and I think Alejandro managed to capture some of this magic. Not an easy feat and worth watching.
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