Perseverance is one of our greatest assets. The Revenant is a film about perseverance, created by a cast and crew that tremendously displayed it in making this film. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, and Domhnall Gleeson star in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, set in the dangerous world of the American wilderness in 1823 where a hunting team plays the never-ending game of survival. Along the way, legendary explorer Hugh Glass is viciously attacked by a bear and is left for dead.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film is as brutal as it is beautiful. The cinematography alone is amazing enough to cover the price of admission. Every scene can be sliced away and considered a piece of art that captures a part of the soul. It was shot chronologically on a grueling 80-day schedule with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s plan of only using natural light. It was well worth it, as the film truly captures the viciousness and blessings of mother nature, projecting it as a character. Simply put, the cinematography is heavenly.
Not to mention, the action scenes in this film are tremendously gritty and well done. Two notable moments are the opening, where the team of trappers and hunters are attacked by a Native American tribe (Arikara), and Hugh Glass versus the bear. The action in this film is fierce and unforgiving, as killing is as common as eating breakfast for these men.
Now, the script isn’t horrible, but it certainly feels flat in certain parts. It’s a simple story that’s constructed around the motivation of revenge, which is easy to connect to, but it’s not noteworthy. The film lacks the emotional complexity that would’ve taken it to the level of remarkable. Fortunately, the players are fully committed with their performances, and make up for the weak script, as well as the long run time.
Tom Hardy is the antagonist of the film, and his ferocious, charismatic performance is fantastic, which is not a surprise. Hardy plays John Fitzgerald, the hunter that fuels the fire of Hugh Glass. He’s a cynical man that makes some boldly selfish choices. Hardy’s performance is coldly intense, allowing the audience to almost admire him, yet passionately hate him.
Despite the many solid performances in this film, Leonardo DiCaprio truly shines in the lead role as Hugh Glass. With minimal lines of dialogue, DiCaprio expresses himself through his actions and reactions in his bloody dance with mother nature. In some scenes, you can feel his desperation, his exhaustion, and his fire, as if you were there. DiCaprio, a method actor, went the distance for this role, as he ate a raw slab of bison liver, learned to handle a musket and build a fire, as well as learned to speak two Native American languages. He truly delved into the role without fear.
The Revenant is an exhausting display of perseverance, along with what fuels it. It is a work of art that’s painted with blood and sweat. It speaks to our animalistic side, and expresses that man’s perseverance can be used for both villanous and heroic feats.