“The Revenant” movie was inspired by true events and based on the novel of Michael Punke – The Revenant: A novel of Revenge, based on the story of real-life American frontiersman Hugh Glass.
Development of The Revenant began in 2001, stalled until 2010 and signed to be directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman’s director) in 2011 [Wikipedia].
The Revenant’s script had a unique sense of surrealism and cinematic touch only movies can render, turning the lengthy atmosphere in the book into harrowing struggle for survival and revenge of a man, leaving film-goers like me extremely out of breath after the credit scene appeared on-screen.
Using a novel as foundation, The Revenant used one of four typical types of literary conflict: man vs. nature – out of man vs. man, man vs. society and man vs. self. “Man vs. nature” conflict denotes external struggle positioning the protagonist against animal, or force of nature – and in this case, both!
I cannot express enough my horror, yet admiration upon seeing DiCaprio wrestled in vain against the CGI grizzly bear, the whole scene was real, the fight was gruesome. Judging by people around me mumbling and gasping “Oh shit”, “Ugh” and all that stuff, the bear stole the show. Half of the movie showing DiCaprio breathing, crawling, grumbling, reminiscing, hallucinating, and dragging himself out of the frozen shit hole, as other trappers tried to find their way back their camp against the ruthless cold.
Another memorable scene for me was when Dicaprio pulling the dead horse’s organs inside-out, getting naked and hiding himself from the blizzard – under its carcass! That adaptive nature of human always fascinates me, what we do for the sake of survival defines us in raw light.
The Revenant’s director – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, is well-known for his critic-acclaimed Birdman. His previous films including: Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006) (comprising the “Death Trilogy”), Biutiful (2010) and Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) contributed to his fame as the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award aka. Oscar for Best Director.
He won three Oscars: Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture for his Birdman in 2015. Will he be a heavy candidate for these three nominations this year with The Revenant?
Very likely, I’m afraid. I cannot say much about his direction of this film, apart from my own more positive impression comparing to Birdman and other films of his – probably because I paid more intention watching The Revenant this time than I did to the others. There is no doubt in his artistic arrangement, his brilliant choice of camera angles and his full dedication to this film to the point of pushing all possible limits onto his film crew.
Until this day, after 2 months the movie has been released, he is still being severely criticized for putting other actors and crew members into dangerous situations and difficult shoots for the sake of creating the most realistic experiences possible.
I don’t get why people are so obsessed with DiCaprio and his Oscars. Truth be told, I did ask the Oscar to be given to him already in a recent Facebook status, and DiCaprio himself might still hold his breath for the day he finally touches the statue, however, Oscar isn’t important, or even matter here.
Many people, including me, already deem DiCaprio as one of the best actors that ever graced the screen. He has self-developed, he has improved over and over, he pushes himself further and further in acting and boy, is it me or he is supreme when he talks less?
This time he proves his acting not through lines he recites, characters he plays as if he was them as usual, but through his persistent crawling, fighting his way back to life for the sole purpose of revenge that sets an undying fire in his eyes. Maybe, just a very tiny bitty of chance DiCaprio might actually win an Oscar for his performance, but really, does it even matter anymore?
The remaining casts also contributed to the film: Tom Hardy as main antagonist John Fitzgerald, a self-serving man without remorse, and I need not talk much about Hardy. He played his role into fulfillment.
What interests me more is Domhnall Gleeson as Captain Andrew Henry, who didn’t appear much the entire film, but still left a pretty good impression of a self-righteous and merciful man, in total contradiction with Fitzgerald. Gleeson has had a blooming 2015 with many films in different genres: Sci-fi drama Ex-Machina alongside with starlet Alicia Vikander; romance drama Brooklyn with Saoirse Ronan; famous sequel Star War: The Force Awakens as an antagonist. I can’t wait to see him thriving more in upcoming years.
Will Pouter from We’re the Millers is a nice surprise. He can be something, but needs to accept more versatile scripts if wanting to pursuit a serious path in acting.