Continuing our watching of this year’s Academy Awards Oscar for Best Picture nominees, we watched The Revenant, the film that would finally get Leonardo DiCaprio his best actor Oscar. This was his 5th attempt, impressive when you consider the first time we saw him was in Critters 3!
This would be the follow-up film for last year’s Best Director winner, Alejandro G. Inarritu, having won for Birdman, he would also win the award for The Revenant.
The film, based in part on the novel by Michael Punke, follows a group of men in 1820’s on a trading expedition to get fur and pelts from animals.
The team led by Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) are searching in unknown territory so have hired a guide, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and his half-pawnee son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) to show them the way.
On one of their days hunting, the group is attacked by the Arikara, who are looking for their chief’s kidnapped daughter, Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk’o). Glass shows the group a route and effectively saves their lives!
Whilst out searching for furs, Glass is brutally attacked by a large bear and is pretty much left for dead.
The group initially aim to get him to safety, even storing the pelts that they have collected, but they soon realise carrying the injured party on a stretch is compromising the group, and will allow the Arikara to catch up.
John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) proposes that they shoot Glass, to end his pain and suffering to which Henry agrees, but is unable to pull the trigger. Being aware that the injured man has done so much to save their lives, he offers money for members of the group to stay behind, so he does not die alone from his wounds.
When only Hawk and young Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) only volunteer and a 3rd is needed, Fitzgerald agrees, seeing it as a way to recoup the money he has lost on disregarding the pelts.
When Bridger goes off in search of supplies, Fitzgerald tries to suffocate Glass, in order to get back to the group sooner, but is seen by Hawk. Fitzgerald therefore stabs him to death and all that Glass can do is watch.
Fitzgerald then manages to convince Bridger, Hawk has vanished and the Arikara are near so they must leave Glass to die!
Glass however managers to find the strength to move on, and far from dying, he carries out crude surgery on his wounds and he seeks Fitzgerald for revenge!
What happens is that journey in treacherous conditions, including freezing weather. Glass will bond with the Arikara, seeks out the French hunters to find the kidnappers of Powaqu, he kills the hunters, frees her and steals a horse to continue his journey to find Fitzgerald.
The two will eventually meet again in a brutal fight to the end!
This is a beautiful film to look at, the sets and locations are fantastic and therefore worthy of its 3rd Oscar for cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki.
Despite its simple man seeking revenge storyline it never outstays its 156 minute run time, the performances are all excellent, DiCaprio especially but for us, if he was to win a film for best acting, it probably would have been for Blood Diamond or The Wolf of Wall Street!
Tom Hardy is also excellent as Fitzgerald, as you would expect from someone who has done so well at playing troubled characters, from Bronson to The Krays in Legend!
The bear attack and some of the kills are hard to watch on human and animal. If a lover of horses, we would probably suggest that this isn’t the film for you.
This despite being a simple drama is worthy of all of its 12 nominations and 3 wins, we would again say this would have been a more worthy winner than Spotlight in Best Picture, one of the categories it lost in!
We would highly recommend the Revenant to your viewing list!
You can watch the trailer here:
You can buy the film from Amazon here:
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