Leo Shines in The Revenant

Dylan Rupptrecht

With the Oscars right around the corner, it would be egregious not to review one of 2015’s most decorated films, The Revenant, which currently leads the Oscars with twelve nominations. Many people will be wondering if this will be the year for Leonardo DiCaprio as he has secured a leading actor nomination for his performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in The Revenant (AP photo)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in The Revenant (AP photo)

With survival at the heart of the film, director Alejandro González Iñárritu uses his pristine, trademark long shots to capture the natural beauty of the wilderness; he has by far cemented his place as one of the greatest film directors of new age cinema. After last year’s beautiful long shots in Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki captures the beauty of the Canadian frontier in all natural lighting with gorgeously-crafted, real landscapes.

The only critique about this film is that it takes an enormous amount of time to actually set the plot into motion; this definitely has an impact on the movie-goers’ attention spans. However, with stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy to watch, it’s still not a terrible amount of time of sitting, and eventually one starts to become lost in the scenery and art. Any slow pacing in the beginning is more than made up for in the adrenaline rush that comes later. The bear attack is undoubtedly the best scene in the film. The CGI bear looks as real as ever, and the attack feels incredibly gruesome and painful as DiCaprio gets ripped to shreds by the beast.

The Revenant is a refreshing change of pace for Mexican director Iñárritu, who took home the Best Director Academy Award for the mesmerizing Birdman last year. His most recent motion picture was an entirely different challenge to film than his one-shot illusion he strove for in Birdman. Set in a region of Canada where sunlight is present for only a few hours a day, the movie production schedule was spent heavily on hours of rehearsal, blocking, and stunts as to make the scarce amount of time filming in sunlight as efficient as possible.

For Leo fans, this role is by far one of his most emotionally-gruelling performances. However, the real question is, will it be gritty enough to permit DiCaprio to take home his long-awaited Academy Award? We will just have to wait and see.