The Revenant: a grizzly masterpiece
The definition of ‘revenant’ is the ‘one who has returned, as if from the dead’. And after watching the Oscar-tipped drama of the same name, you will feel as if you have just climbed out of a shallow grave. In a good way.
The Revenant is based on the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fierce hunter who is left for dead by his own men. But, despite his devastating situation, revenge must be sought. Even if he has to crawl on his hands and knees to get it.
This film is not for everyone – it’s a grizzly, cinematic endurance test that explores the viciousness and brutality that lurks in its picturesque setting. Watching The Revenant is a struggle, but a rewarding one.
The stories of the difficult, unforgiving shoot in the wilds of Canada and the tribulations of cast and crew are well documented, but you need to forget about all the behind-the-scenes drama and let yourself be enveloped by the atmosphere that has been so meticulously crafted here.
From DiCaprio’s captivating portrayal of Glass to Tom Hardy’s mumbling, multi-faceted antagonist, the performances are stellar across the board. But they’re ultimately overshadowed by the stunning cinematography. The snow-covered wilderness appears so beautiful and pure that it is all the more unsettling when the blood starts sloshing. Even in this era of gore-tastic films, The Revenant manages to shock.
The film is unrelenting from start to finish. You’re made to feel every ounce of Glass’s struggle. It is a hellish nightmare, with long tracking shots and a minimal soundtrack enhancing the ethereal air. Everything is designed to assault the senses, as you are dragged through the blood-drenched snow to the film’s brutal conclusion.
You do not just watch The Revenant, you participate. Quite frankly, it’s a masterpiece.
Jon Fuge is a writer based in London.
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