We’re lucky to be living during this time period; a world full of smartphones, advanced medicine and pumpkin spice lattes.
Every once in awhile, something comes along that makes us thankful we are not stuck in a different time, one where we’d have to worry about how to live off the harsh land or whether or not a cut on our leg would lead to amputation. For anyone who needs a reminder of how easy this generation has it, look no further than The Revenant.
Directed and co-written by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, fresh off last year’s Birdman, a critical success, The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy as fur trappers on an expedition in the 1800s. America as we know it hasn’t come to be yet, and the territory from the recent Louisiana Purchase is full of Native Americans fighting for their land against the European settlers. DiCaprio’s “Hugh Glass,” an experienced trapper and frontiersman, goes exploring one morning and finds himself face-to-face with a grizzly bear. Shockingly this is not the worst thing to happen to DiCaprio’s character, as the circumstances only get worse from there.
From a spectacle standpoint, Inarritu and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki have put together one of the most bleak yet gorgeous films of the year. The dreary and sad-looking terrain comes off frighteningly beautiful. The imagery alone is enough to keep the audience captivated, even as things go from bad to worse.
Honestly, DiCaprio seems desperate for an Oscar, for while he gives an excellent performance, it actually amounts to one of his weaker roles. He spends most of the film suffering and in anguish, and while he does this well, it gets tiring after a while.
The real star is Hardy who, as usual, completely dissolves into his role. He lives and breathes his characters, and the effort he brings to his work is palpable.
As great as the visuals and performances are, the rest of the film is not quite as strong. The story and other characters are solid, but the continual gloom and doom can exhaust a viewer.
This is not a feel-good movie, but one that should be experienced and appreciated. In summation, go for Leo’s Oscar attempt, stay for the beautiful bleakness and Hardy.