By Alex Cooke
The release of Birdman director Alejandro Iñárritu’s new film The Revenant has sparked speculation that Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar this year.
My opinion? Probably not. But his beard might.
DiCaprio did a good job. And the movie was great. But I suspect if The Revenant does win an Oscar, it will be for Best Picture or Best Director.
The film – loosely based on true events – takes place in the snowy, uncharted American wilderness of the 1800s. There are some truly stunning shots of the forests, rivers and mountains.
DiCaprio, sporting a gloriously unkempt beard, plays Hugh Glass, an explorer who, in a truly disturbing scene, was mauled by a bear and left for dead by his expedition.
The film follows his adventure through the snowy landscape as he goes on a quest to find his expedition and take his revenge.
The film makes use of Iñárritu’s style of long, plodding camera takes. A lot of the action takes place during sweeping shots of bloody battle scenes and the frosty American wilderness.
The camera acts as a character, observing silently and omnisciently. During the gorier scenes, the lens becomes covered in blood. In scenes by a river, it gets covered in water droplets. It almost feels as though we are watching the events unfold ourselves.
The story was interesting, but moved v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.
During the first 40 minutes, I had no idea what the movie was about.
A lot of the scenes were almost Tarantino-esque in their use of excessive, over-the-top violence. We see people getting shot, drowned, stabbed, bludgeoned, raped and mauled.
We get it – the 1800s was a bloody time. Can we continue with the plot already?
But throughout the gore, the film did a great job of making us feel the characters’ pain. I flinched when people were shot or stabbed. I cringed while watching DiCaprio get mauled by the bear. I felt cold during the snowy scenes. Of course, that might just be me being a wimp.
As for acting, I thought DiCaprio did well. Not Oscar-worthy well, but decently enough. The problem is his character had no range of emotions. His facial expressions consisted of mad, furious, angry, seething and occasionally teary-eyed.
If I were stuck in the wilderness, I would probably experience similar feelings. But I don’t think I’d throw awards at him for frothing at the mouth and groaning.
The Revenant is a well put-together film. Through its gorgeous shots, snowy scenes and gratuitous violence, it made me feel like I was part of the 1800s fur-trapping scene.