FILM REVIEW: The Revenant

With awards season fast approaching, it wouldn’t be right if there was no mention of Leonardo DiCaprio and his chances of finally winning the illusive Academy Award.

However, after teaming up with last year’s director of the year – and big time boundary-pusher – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, it does appear that this year could finally be Leo’s year.

The Mexican’s latest cinematic offering The Revenant has already built up a bit of a reputation before it event hit the silver screen, with its nine-month wilderness shot, using just natural light. But the results give the perfectly arm chair gripping chill it hopes to achieve.

Inspired by the frontiersmen of the 1820’s The Revenant mainly focuses on Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) who is left to die in the snowy mountains by his supposed brother in arms John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Despite his physical injuries, you can see the rage on Glass’ face and the seeds of revenge have been sown.

leoVery little is known about Glass apart from he is an expert tracker, and would do anything to protect his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and it is exactly this unknown quality which allows Iñárritu and star DiCaprio to turn the grizzly man into a mythic force of nature himself.

For large parts of the film there is no dialogue, requiring the audience to really invest in DiCario’s character, and they do exactly that by seeing this man claw his way through snow, avoid death – at least twice – and grow as he gets closer to the man who betrayed him.

With such vast scenery to play with, it is left to back-to-back Oscar winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, to showcase just why his talents are so high in demand – one such bloody scene sees the camera move effortlessly from kill shot to kill shot.

poulter_courtesy_c0-0-1600-932_s885x516It is the beautiful camera work of Lubezki, and the investment in DiCaprio which really puts The Revenant at the front of the line to scoop the top awards at this year’s Oscars.

However, this is just the DiCaprio show, the supporting cast certainly pull their weight. Hardy playing the hated antagonist the way only he could. Will Poulter showing that he really is becoming a bright young prospect in Hollywood, and Domhnall Gleeson plays the role of conflicted Capitan Andrew Henry perfectly.

But iIt is DiCaprio’s raw performance which elevate what could have been just another man-versus-nature drama, producing a film which defies convention.

So the question begs to be asked. Will Iñárritu be the first director to win back-to-back Oscars, and after receiving nominations for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and most recently The Wolf of Wall Street, will The Revenant finally bring the gold home for DiCaprio? We think so.

JUST AN INSIGHT SCORE: 9/10

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