The Revenant (2015)

The Revenant 2015 film poster.jpg
Grin and Bear It

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Running Time: 156 Minutes
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domnhall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck

In 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is on a fur trading expedition, joined by his son Hawk (an impressive Forrest Goodluck). After being mauled by a bear, Glass is left close to death. Two men are left to look after Glass until death, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), with Hawk staying behind with them. Hawk stops Fitzgerald from killing Glass, only to lose his life while his father helplessly looks on. Fitzgerald gets Bridger to leave, as the two leave Glass for dead. Pulling himself out of a shallow grave, Glass must navigate the harsh terrain, motivated by a need to survive, and a thirst for vengeance.

If there's one word which can be used describe the overall picture, it's breathtaking. It's an effective description for many aspects of the film. From the visuals, boasting masterful work from Emmanuel Lubezki, as the unforgiving, snowy landscape gives you chills just from looking at it. To the unflinching brutality, vividly brought to life by Iñárritu's stunning direction, as the sights of a raw bison liver being consumed, and a horse cadaver utilised as a sleeping bag, are left seared into your mind. Yet it's the infamous bear mauling scene which stands out, leaving you to feel every painful moment endured, boasting a savagery which makes it a difficult watch.

He had Matthew McConnaughey in his sights...

But the one aspect that'll be the main talking point is Leonardo DiCaprio. Much of the film rests on his shoulders, as he drives the plot forward in the lead role. His performance is a powerful one, foregoing speech for much of the runtime, letting his facial expressions do all the needed communication with the audience. But he's far from the only cast member worth praising. Tom Hardy immerses himself in his cold-blooded and gritty character, to deliver a performance that some would understandably praise first and foremost. Will Poulter impresses, while Domnhall Gleeson adds another strong performance to a year full of them.

In following up his award winning film Birdman, all eyes were on Alejandro González Iñárritu. What he's delivered is more than just a way of seeing how far Leo will go for that Oscar. The Revenant is a gripping tale that will leave you breathless. Powerfully brought to life by a talented cast, helmed by a director with a confident handling of the brutality depicted onscreen. This is an unforgettable experience.