THE REVENANT (15)
D: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu
20th Century Fox/Regency (Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñarritu, David Kanter, Mary Parent, James W. Skotchdopole & Keith Redmon)
W: Alejandro G. Iñarritu & Mark L. Smith [based on the novel by Michael Punke]
DP: Emmanuel Lubezki
Ed: Stephen Mirrione
Mus: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto & Bryce Dessner
Leonardo DiCaprio (Hugh Glass), Tom Hardy (John Fitzgerald), Domhnall Gleeson (Capt. Andrew Henry), Will Poulter (Jim Bridger), Forrest Goodluck (Hawk), Duane Howard (Elk Dog)
The Revenant is a breathtaking piece of work, proving that a director who adds the right ingredients of cast and crew, can make an ordinary story extraordinary with a cinematic transition.
Inspired by true events, the plot could be best described as Dances With Wolves-meets-Deliverance, a survival epic meets revenge tale set against the backdrop of snow-covered American wilderness.
A fur-trading expedition is ambushed by a Pawnee tribe, cutting their numbers down to ten and mutiny grows amongst the survivors, spearheaded by belligerent Texan John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who blames their head tracker Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his 'half-breed' son for their woes.
On their journey back to their fort, Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead by Fitzgerald, who also murders Glass's son.
From the cusp of death and inspired by visions of his late wife, Glass musters up the strength to traverse the deadly winter surroundings in pursuit of revenge, all while both parties are still being hunted by the Native American tribe who are intent on reaping their own vengeance.
While the plot is reminiscent of almost any old-style western you could point a stick at, what makes The Revenant such an original piece of work is in the handling from its director and the brilliant photography from Emmanuel Lubezki, utilising a new camera system to best capture the beautiful scenery and stark conditions. The visual effects and makeup are also second to none, especially in the bear attack which you'd be forgiven for thinking that a real bear were used.
The running time is a little on the long side at 2 hours and 36 minutes, and though there's many scenes which use symbolism as a visual poetry, there's not a single frame which should be cut. One minor irritant is that looks as though some of the Native American language were dubbed in post-production, but this is only a tiny bother.
The acting here, especially by Leonardo DiCaprio, who, in a role with very little dialogue, is outstanding, but Iñarritu's direction is the overriding factor which makes The Revenant a must watch film, which is also on release in a 3D format (presumably for sadists).