Review: The Revenant (2015)

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Fresh from the imaginative Birdman, which secured several award wins, director Alejandro G. Inarritu returns with a bang – more specifically a survival thriller of intense power and raw visceral beauty. Leonardo DiCaprio takes the lead as Hugh Glass, a 19th century frontiersman who’s left for dead in the harsh American wilderness after being brutally mauled by a bear. Near death, Glass – against all manner of odds, both physical and mental – wills himself back up on his feet, determined to exact revenge on those who deserted him. In simple terms, The Revenant is a study of human endurance, when the fight response is activated, spurring a rebirth within the depths of the soul that slowly but surely takes full control. Glass, despite his ordeal, comes to be a survivor, and DiCaprio understands this wholeheartedly, devoting every inch of himself – and more – to the role. His face is harrowed, his body ripped to shreds, but the fire in his soul urging him along. It’s capped, if not amplified, by the landscape, captured in all its terrifying vastness by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. If the script can be labelled as simple, then it’s a different story altogether for the visuals, which do wonders to express the sheer magnitude of Glass’ spiritual and bodily undertaking, every inch of him prone to the harsh and dark elements. The Revenant, then, is an uncompromising exercise in bare bones storytelling that cannot be taken lightly.

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