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The Revenant

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“I ain’t afraid to die. I done it already,” whispers Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio). After watching Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s extraordinary survival western, you are likely to believe him, as The Revenant puts its protagonist, supporting characters and viewers through an almighty wringer. The film’s narrative is simple but relentless, as the savagery of nature and humanity alike are shown in all their brutal glory, including volleys of arrows and gunshots, avalanches, fire, water, wind and, in one utterly harrowing sequence, a bear. Stylistically, these various elements are rendered in immersive detail, as Iñárritu and DOP Emmanuel Lubezki present the events in a haunting, ethereal light and bring the viewer so close to the action that blood, snow and even breath smear the lens of the camera. Nor is this visceral energy presented for the sake of admiring man’s resilience, as the film is thematically ambivalent. Nature’s savagery is unmitigated, but so is its beauty, as stunning long shots of the landscape convey a sublime sense of awe. Sudden acts of violence come from men as much as they do from the mountains, often with no warning, highlighting that death is random and arbitrary. Come the end, the viewer may be at a loss as to the meaning of the events depicted. The final image is a look directly into the camera, as if asking “Now what?” No answer is forthcoming, and it may take several viewings before one can be ascertained.

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12 Comments

  1. […] question of what will win? The strong contenders can be determined by other awards and nominations. The Revenant and The Martian won Best Picture at the Golden Globes for, respectively, Drama and Musical or […]

  2. […] Oscars are now clearer than before. Few categories seem less certain than Achievement in Directing. The Revenant director Alejandro G. Iñárritu has now won the Golden Globe, the DGA award and the BAFTA for […]

  3. […] characters and traditionally male endeavours – finance, law/espionage, (space) exploration, survival, journalism. Meanwhile, the “women’s” films consist of a story of motherhood and […]

  4. […] her Best Actress award for The Reader from 2008. Meanwhile, DiCaprio’s performance in The Revenant has already earned him a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, a Screen Actors’ Guild […]

  5. […] casts of, respectively, The Big Short and Spotlight, and Hardy is a brilliant antagonist in The Revenant. I would be happy to see any of them win – Ruffalo, now on his third nomination, has been a […]

  6. […] Score and Animated Feature. Emmanuel Lubezki made history with his third consecutive win for The Revenant, following previous wins for Gravity and Birdman. One day, Roger Deakins, one day. Ennio […]

  7. […] 6. The Revenant (15 January 2016) […]

  8. […] 6. The Revenant (15 January 2016) […]

  9. […] roles in the future or if he continues to explore strange and interesting parts like that that in The Revenant. I suspect and hope the […]

  10. […] who develop new skills for roles (see Natalie Portman in Black Swan and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant), and Gosling did learn to play the piano and perform his own dance numbers in La La Land. Plus, […]

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