REVIEW: The Revenant currently showing at The Light Cinema in Wisbech
12:14 18 January 2016
Realistically brutal, relentless and beautifully filmed The Revenant is everything you would expect from a potential Oscar winner.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of vengeful Hugh Glass is incredible. Left for dead in the frozen frontiers of 1820s America, after being mauled by a grizzly bear, Glass’ fight for survival has you on the edge of your seat.
But it is British actor Tom Hardy, who is barely recognisable with his beard, drawling accent and partially scalped head, who steals the show.
Both men are nominated for an Oscar - DiCaprio for best actor and hardy for best supporting actor.
This film is breathtakingly shot making full use of the glory of the wilderness.
Glass’s battle for survival and his quest for revenge is set against some of the harshest winter conditions imaginable.
The soundtrack is breathing and breath - the breath of life, the breath of nature, the wind and composers Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner reflect that with their evocative music. The back drop of the wilderness and its sounds permeates the whole film from the gushing rivers to the wind howling in the trees.
It is bleak, it is cold and it is brutal - life bared to the soul.
Glass is horrendously injured after the incident with the bear. He is not expected to survive. But having made it through the night his fellow band of trappers feel they have no option but to carry him out of the wilderness pursued by a band of hostile Indians.
Desperately battling freezing temperatures and an unforgiving mountainous terrain the decision is made to abandon Glass to die watched over by three volunteers: Hardy’s Fitzgerald, naive trapper Bridger (Will Poulter) and Glass’s half Native American son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck).
The rest of the motley band continue their perilous journey. The expectation is Glass will quickly succumb to his wounds and can receive a proper burial. Days later he is still hanging on to life by a thread and Fitzgerald, fearing he and his cohorts will be completely separated from the others, kills Hawk and forces Bridger to abandon Glass half buried in a makeshift grave.
But having witnessed Fitzgerald’s cold blooded murder of his son Glass endures every deprivation in a relentless pursuit for revenge. He literally crawls after his treacherous former colleagues.
The cinematography is breathtaking, it is so realistically shot you can almost feel the icy blast of the snow storm and feel the freezing waters of the river into which Glass is forced to plunge at one point.
This is not a film for the faint hearted, the fights, the bear and the wounds on Glass’s body are gut churningly graphic.
But it is a film for those who like a good story, told well and portrayed with such conviction that if DiCaprio and especially Hardy don’t pick up an Oscar then there is no justice - natural or man-made.