The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2015)
Not so long after getting impressed by his last film, Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro González Iñárritu just did it again. Watching The Revenant last night was like watching an immersive documentary film about a real wild life plus the experience about a man’s survival in it. An innovative direction from Iñárritu can capture every single moment clearly through the perfect angle camera movement. When we usually see the human interaction drama in Iñárritu’s film, now for the first time he offers something new, an action thriller genre. How human deals with the natives, revenge, and wild nature is the basic plot of this film. Just like Birdman, the skill of camera movement to produce some incredible long shoot has a very important role here.
Some sequences about how to survive from the native Ree Indians and the extreme weather and brutal condition of the wild nature are terrificly exposed. You can capture his struggle and eager to be able to come back till his last breath. The most memorable one of course is the fight sequence between Glass and a grizzly bear. You can feel and smell its breath and Glass’ fear at the same time right in front of your face. I can’t remember how many times I gasped watching one of the most marvelous actions I’ve ever witnessed. How breathtaking!
Credit given not only to Iñárritu, but also the CG team who had made the cruel grizzly bear into the real one in whatsoever way. Although till now Iñárritu still doesn’t reveal the secret how he shot the bear attack according to The Hollywood Reporter as he did last year when he chose not to describe how Birdman had been made to look as if shot in a single take (only after the movie won 4 Oscars did its VFX team admit how much CG work was involved in stitching separate shots together).
A two times Oscar winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki totally shows off his class in exposing the beauty of every landscape of location. It’s like a magical experience as if you had never seen the forest, the river, the waterfall, the mountain, a sunset, and a sunrise before. It feels relieving and amusing to see all details of the beautiful scenery during the film. It’s not only to refresh your eye and mind, but also to make you always remember of how powerful the greatest God. From 12 Oscar nominee of this movie, I have no doubt that Lubezki deserves his third.
DiCaprio’s performance is the biggest issue nowadays. His chance of getting his first Oscar is wide open. Who thought that when the greatest Hollywood directors such as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Sam Mendes, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan, and Quentin Tarantino can’t give him a single one, turns out that the Mexican visionary director who apparently will give him the first one. It’s more than just groaning and moaning in his unexpected scenes to describe his painful and suffering. It’s an extraordinary human spirit that he delivered to the audience through his last breath. What more thing will he need to do to get a serious attention to the Academy? It’s not like because they owe him one, but he really deserves it this time. Although for me, my most favorite of his performance is still for the role Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Dropping out from the prestigious movie project Suicide Squad will not make Tom Hardy feel regret at all I guess. He gives everything since the beginning to raise the tension of the story. What a memorable portrait of villain! Domnhall Gleeson and Will Poulter also deliver a different performance that we had never seen before.
The score is beautiful, haunting, and mesmerizing. Not too familiar with the work of composer Ryuichi Sakamoto before, yet I still enjoy it and it helps to bring the real atmosphere of wild life to me.
I agree that the plot somehow is the weakness. Despite of the powerful direction, immersive cinematography, and awesome performance, I can’t make some hole plot out of my mind. It’s a Hollywood formula typical when we don’t need to worry about the fate of the main character. In my opinion, no matter how strong a human could be, it’s almost impossible that a man can heal in such a period time after getting a serious bleeding and some dislocation, not to mention the extreme cold weather that surely can cause a hypothermia condition. Although it’s said that there is no force more powerful than the will to live, it’s still not make any sense.
When people sometimes do not like and do not have any familiarity with kind of Oscar film, I still want to recommend this. Ignore all the bad reviews and Oscar label of this film. Just experience it! It’s special for you who like a challenging adventure and thriller film with some brutal real scene and beautiful landscape. Despite of its long duration, you will not regret it. It’s clearly an ambitious film from its direction and performance, yet I even look forward watching it for the second time.