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Leonardo DiCaprio gives a performance of his life in the epic saga, The Revenant, and he doesn’t even talk much.
The intense shooting of 11 months under extreme conditions in Argentina and Canada, under the authority of the demanding director, Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, Amores Perros), brings out some of the best body language and intensity ever captured on the silver screen.
When we add to the mix the work of award-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, a master of natural light, we have a winning setup in our hands.
All of the above would of course be secondary, if the script would suck. It doesn’t. The story, adapted from Michael Punke’s 2002 novel and written into a screenplay by Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith, is so gripping that you barely remember to remove your coat while stepping in from the cold to the world of seeing DiCaprio’s breath exhaled under a thick beard.
The story tells a tale of a real-life survival, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), who was mauled by a grizzly bear during a Missouri River expedition in 1823. His friends saw him as a lost cause. They fled, left him to die. Glass swore revenge upon them.
The brutal bear scene alone will leave its mark into the history of films as a poster boy (bear) for realism. Want to know how it was done? Click here.
The film features fantastic supporting performances from, for example, Tom Hardy as a badass John Fitzgerald and Domnhall Gleeson as a sympathetic Captain Andrew Henry.
The score by renowned Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and electronic artist Alva Noto could and should be on the list of nominees for the Oscar. But it turns out the score is not ineligible for an award because Sakamoto had intertwined with other composers – a no-no by the rules of the Academy.
Maybe it doesn’t matter much in the end. The Revenant, after all, is nominated for an Oscar in 12 categories, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role.
The Revenant opens in cinemas on January 29.