Bundled in a cozy sweater with a piping hot coffee in hand, I settled in to watch The Revenant.
PLOT - Set in the early 1800's, The Revenant follows an American fur trapping expedition in the North. The expedition faces a major set-back, when they are attacked by a native tribe and only a handful of men survive. As they struggle to return to their base, their navigator, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is attacked by a bear.
A few men, including Glass' son (Forrest Goodluck), agree to stay behind with the barely living, Glass, while the rest of the men push forward for help. The head of the expedition, Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson) makes a verbal agreement with John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), of a bonus payment contingent on his caring for Glass, including a proper burial if Glass dies. Thinking that Glass won't survive and no one will find out, Fitzgerald murders Glass' son and leaves Glass for dead. He doesn't count on Glass' determination to survive and get his revenge.
LIKE- The Revenant is visually stunning with gorgeous landscapes. It's striking and awe inspiring. The Revenant absolutely must be seen on the big screen.
The camera work, with many close shots and a single shot ( or close to it) battle sequence, serves the story by creating intimacy and immediacy. The reaction is visceral. I felt immersed in the story, unable to contain gasps and the instinct to wrap my arms protectively around my chest. The movie that I saw previously to The Revenant, was Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. Tarantino is known for violence and gore, but he has nothing on The Revenant. The difference being the realism in The Revenant and the clever camera work that didn't allow for the audience to create a distance from the story. It's an immersive experience. Director Alejandro G. Inarritu has created a masterpiece.
Talking about gore, the bear attack sequence is phenomenal. I don't know much about special effects, but I do know a lot about bears ( many hours spent on a bear research team at our local zoo) and this scene felt absolutely realistic and terrifying. I read an article that talked about this sequence and how the primary source material was a viral video of a man getting attacked at a zoo in Germany. Naturally, I went to Youtube to check it out. Yikes!
Besides a top-notch story, compelling camera work, and gorgeous scenery...the acting is fantastic. The Revenant is going to be a highlight of DiCaprio's already impressive career. This is the award winner. Gleeson and Hardy are well-cast and any nominations thrown their way, will be well-deserved.
DISLIKE- Nothing. One of the best, if not the very best, film that I saw in 2015.
RECOMMEND- Yes, yes, yes...catch it before it leaves theaters.