Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
The Revenant is a story of an explorer. It is a story of betrayal at the hands of your own team. It is the story of survival. Overall, it is a story of man’s sheer relentless pursuit to live and find redemption. The director became a household name when he won the Academy Awards for Birdman last year. This movie is every bit as technically proficient as his earlier venture, but where it falters is the storytelling. It has a lot of style, but lacks some substance.
Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is on an expedition of the unchartered American wilderness with his team that includes friend and confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Hugh is brutally attacked by a bear and left to be dead or alive by the members of his own hunting team, more specifically by John. In a quest to survive, Hugh endures unimaginable pain physically as well as mentally when he thinks of the betrayal by his team. He is guided by one thing though – the love for his family. He bears the brunt of the relentless and vicious winter for a fighting chance to survive.
The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is a wealth of wonders. He captures the raw beauty of the forest in such breathtaking detail that it is nail-biting, to say the least. In our world, animals are there only to be petted or to be eaten but in a stark contrast, the man shows what it is like to be the prey, for a change. Words cannot do justice to the one scene where Hugh is mauled by a bear to an extent that he is almost half-dead. The bear turns around to leave, just to come back and turn him around to work on the other end. At this point, the viewer is literally transported to that scene with Hugh lying helpless on the ground and the bear standing on his head, almost as if proving a point.
This is easily one of the most difficult performances of DiCaprio and he does it with almost a vengeance. It is not a wonder that he won the Academy Awards for his performance, because there is little that would have otherwise fetched him that statuette. Tom Hardy gives a tough competition to DiCaprio, which explains why he was nominated for the best supporting actor.
Verdict: A beautiful, gut-wrenching story about a man and his will to survive for his family, despite being betrayed. This one will stick to you for some time to come.
Written by: Sumitra Sundaram