Movie Review: The Revenant

1 SAG Award. 3 Golden Globes. 5 BAFTA Awards. And the Oscars are next week.

On top of all the awards and nominations director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s raw, gripping tale of survival and revenge has received, it has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. And it is no surprise that there has been a lot of buzz about Oscar-less Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Leading Actor nomination for his performance as Hugh Glass – an 1820s fur trapper left for dead by his fellow men after suffering a less-than-pretty attack by a grizzly.

The Revenant stuns with its pristine cinematography: suspense, fear, and fleeting moments of joy are amplified by every angle – and you can’t help but stay on the edge of your seat wondering what’s just around the corner when there’s a rise in the action.

The pairing of visual and audio effects bring the film further into an elite category, securing its place in the list of Oscar-worthy films. Rivers flowing next to the silent snow of the taiga, the always-visible breath coming from DiCaprio – it feels cold. There’s no slacking during the gorier sections of the movie, either. Blood, broken bones, and frequent battles with Native Americans would be laughable if the effects were any less than top-notch, and in The Revenant, they were incredibly realistic and just perfectly uncomfortable.

There are some pitfalls in the film, though, that take you out of the moment and during which you find yourself asking really? In one scene, Glass, on a stolen horse, is escaping a tribe of Native Americans shooting arrows at him. He has an apparent stroke of luck and all of his attackers miss. After dodging several hundred arrows, he and his horse pitch off a cliff that’s well over a hundred feet high. He walks away with minor injuries, of course.

Fortunately, those few unrealistic moments can be overlooked. DiCaprio plays the broken, vengeful Hugh Glass with a rarely seen excellence. For the bulk of the film, all emotion came from facial expressions, owing to Glass’s damaged vocal chords (courtesy of the grizzly).

Aside from DiCaprio is Tom Hardy, playing the fur trapper John Fitzgerald who left Glass to die in the wilderness. Hardy’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is well deserved – his character is utterly hateful.

This Sunday, Iñárritu could win his second Best Director title, along with a second Best Picture award. And DiCaprio may finally, finally, win the Best Actor award fans have been wanting him to win for years. The Revenant is expected to pick up most of the Academy Awards it’s nominated for, and the film’s cast and crew most definitely deserve the wins.