Saturday, July 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio goes all out in The Revenant giving his most physical and raw performance of his career, which is highly likely to win him Oscar gold, something he’s been hunting for a while now. The Revenant, tells the story of real life frontiersman, Hugh glass who must survive the harsh wilderness of the American West to get revenge on those who wronged him. DiCaprio’s performance as Hugh Glass is largely characterized by his physical commitment to the role which he displays many times in the film such as through sleeping in a dead horse’s carcass, eating a raw bison liver, acting in well below freezing temperatures and getting mauled by a bear. However, DiCaprio never over acts in these moments, but keeps his performance subtle and as much as I always see DiCaprio as the good looking young man, who I wished I was in films like, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, he really makes an attempts to lose himself in this role, one which was quite successful.
The supporting cast also give engaging and interesting performances particularly, Will Poulter who portrays a naïve young man filled with guilt and Tom Hardy, the films antagonist, who has mastered the art of looking dead behind the eyes. In addition, the film includes some significant roles for native American actors and rightly so as they are often an afterthought in films about this time period in American history.
As well as DiCaprio, the stars of this film are its director and cinematographer Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, who tell this story of revenge mostly visually rather than through plot and dialogue, which they get away with solely due to the stunning visuals presented on screen as well as by the way Iñárritu moves his camera around the characters and follows them into the action whether their on horseback being shot at or while floating down rapids which gives the film and in particular its action sequences, an thrilling intensity. In addition, Iñárritu’s choice to shot the film only using natural light, gives it a more realistic and strangely beautiful look, especially scenes which were filmed at night with only the light of a fire, to brighten the faces of the actors and their environment. However, the film does slow down and drag at points, mainly during the middle of the film which some cinemagoers may find uninteresting and tedious, however most of these quieter and slower moments are accompanied with some striking shots of the winter landscape as well as some great acting moments from DiCaprio and his supporting cast, which should keep most engaged and not checking their phones.
Thanks to the direction, cinematography and performances of DiCaprio and co, Iñárritu have created a cinematic experience which can only be enjoyed and appreciated on the silver screen.