Widely tipped to receive multiple Oscars, including a first best actor gong for Leonardo Di Caprio, “The Revenant” comes to the big screen in Luxembourg this week.
It has been called “meaningless pain porn” by Carole Cadwalladr in The Guardian, while the same paper’s Peter Bradshaw praised its “gasp-inducing landscapes and beautifully wrought closeups.” Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” has divided critics and is definitely a film that will not suit everyone’s tastes. Indeed, it is something of an endurance test, but one well worth sitting through if only for the beautiful cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and the tenacious performance by Leonardo Di Caprio.
The film is captivating from the very start when Di Caprio’s Hugh Glass and his son by a Pawnee woman are interrupted as the track a deer through a shallow river in the snow.
The story will, by now, be familiar to anyone who reads the news. Glass is left for dead after he is attacked by a bear and spends the middle third of the film slowly fighting his way back to strength, avoiding native Americans and French fur trappers and clawing his way back through the snowy wilderness to seek revenge. It is a stunning performance by the actor, with great support from the overly villainous Tom Hardy, Domnhall Gleeson and Will Poulter.
But as well as the brutality of some scenes--most famously the bear attack--it is the shots of the wild scenery, and especially the unusual framing that exaggerates the expanse of sky above, that lingers in the memory. The ever-reliable chief film critic of Variety, Justin Chang, sums it up rather well when he writes that the film is “bleak as hell but considerably more beautiful.”