Monday, 18 January 2016
REVIEW: THE REVENANT
156 Minutes. Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter & Domnhall Gleeson. Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu.
Raw and as real as it gets. Blood boiled and revenged ravaged, 'The Revenant' is the most intense and immersive film you'll watch all year, if ever...and its only January. Epic in length and scale this is no short one but boy are you in it for the long haul. Forget the Costner classic 'Dances With Wolves' in the heart of the real Native Americam land, this is a foxtrot with 'The Wolf of Wall Street' as Leo goes all bear grills with Baloo and lives to write his own Jungle Book. Based on Michael Punke's beautifully brilliant novel journal, after having papa bear claw strip him down to his necessities (seriously though what a scarily sickening, yet superbly sublime scene), our Glass character (who is anything but) is buried alive and left for dead by his own comrades...and he got off lightly compared to the dark fate his son faces. Yet our lead doesnt have to worry about dying....he's done it already. So the one who has returned...as if from the dead is out for an eye for an eye...or head! Now the greatest actor of our generation, Leonardo DiCaprio doesnt have to worry about losing out on so many Oscars...he's about to win one already. Thanks to the flocking, wing spreading directing of Academy Award nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu. Whose gone from the theatrical one shot of the unexpected virtue of 'Birdman' to an epic continuation of this classic camera work for some battle scenes as beautiful as the are brutal. Dont be ignorant. But that's nothing compared to the scary sense of intimidatingly isolated scale the out in the woods high-rising filming up the trees targets and evokes. Or the terrific and magnificent Terrence Malik 'Tree Of Life' like dream sequences that grow here in visonary imagination. Stirring your every sense, even a spirited sixth, 'The Revenant' goes down in your every revery.
Golden Globe winner Leonardo DiCaprio can finally get his Oscar speech ready. Forget about all those running jokes and memes. After starting with a supporting nomination as a kid for his brave and bold performance in 'What's Eating Gilberts Grape', he received three 'Best Actor' nominations over his illustrious, inspired career. The Academy didnt give it for his classic, trademark confliction taking flight in 'The Aviator'. Or his accented performance taking on more 'Blood Diamond' confliction in South Africa. He even brought an afforded appeal to a Gekko greedy a##hole in 'The Wolf Of Wall Street' that really walked the line between money, cocaine, ludes and general douche-baggery. But DAMN was it something else! Just like his incredible performance Hmm, Hmm. But you could tell why some in the Academy may not have voted. But now this 'Revenant' is undeniable. Draped in the wild of bison fur and lost in the woods with a beard that would make the folks in Bon Iver proud, Leo not only looks the part he is it. Putting his vegetarian beliefs aside to eat raw buffalo meat through sickening (I know right...at least cook it first) and even putting his briefs aside in baltic temperatures whilst climbing into an animal carcass, makeshift bed to keep warm just like Luke Skywalker. Still, its more than this that makes the actor that once turned down Spider-Man (what?!) and Anakin Skywalker in 'Star Wars' (now that would have been something...we knew that kid looked like him) choose and prove his roles carefully. From the "get to the boat" opening battle cry, screamed like he was escaping some forest predator, to the paralysed spittle of stress in watching his own heart and soul being hung, drawn and quarted with his spine breakingly inability to do anything about it, this wrought and fought emotion isnt just a measure of this actors dedication, but unashamedly how it would really be, holding nothing back. And we haven't even got into the bear fight yet or the journey he takes back from near death to the redemption of a revenge paid for in blood and bone. Even when all alone and with barely a line of dialogue, DiCaprio brings out the solitary confidement of the senses in a confidence that only this actor can. Forget the award, this is the definitive leading man of our times redefinition and defining performance. He says in few words more volumes than those could say with acts of Tarantino dialogue. Now the man that should have been nominated for 'Django Unchained', aswell as 'Catch Me If You Can', 'Shutter Island', 'Romeo + Julliet' and damn near everything else he's done deserves his due.
Supporting the award cause with his own nomination is Tom Hardy in the villanous role. Now you know when a film features DiCaprio barely saying three words most of the times and co-starring his 'Inception' co-star Hardy, you know they're not going to run out of script paper for the dialogue. But yet again the nuanced Tom Hardy is an incredible actor of expression that does more with what he doesnt say and what the eyes of the soul translates to you instead. And what a year its been for the greatest British actor. After the maverick 'Mad Max' that may be the first all balls blockbuster to get a 'Best Picture' nomination in time, to the 'Legend' that was his double act as the Kray twins that if anything was inspired for its creative depth and dedication of craft...and how green screen damn hard it was itself. I mean this guy kicks his own ass better than Jim Carrey in 'Liar, Liar' or overthinkers. And this is just the beginning for the 'Locke' actor who knows all about driving a star vehicle all on your own, with your hands on 10 and 2. Here reuniting with the 'Inception' of Leo for a fan girls dream he doesnt get lost within one or behind the biggest name in acting that a talent like him only trails. He even brings the conflicting, thought process of a wrong man drowning in desperation no matter the front and its a tour de force of a man on his own but on the wrong side of the tracks, railroading anyone that stands in his way. Its more than good versus evil. Its desperate times versus desperate measures. There's more than this how ever. The multi-talented Will Poulter really is something running through acting mazes. Whilst the multi-faceted Domnhall Gleeson who has starred in some awakening force called 'Star Wars' and last years best sci-fi 'Ex Machina' is having a year that would make even Oscar Isaac jealous, but he's saved his abslolute character best for last. Still under decadent directing it is the pure, soulful iron will of a captivating as this movie is compelling, DiCaprio that brings new born again life to 'The Revenant'. Revel in it. TIM DAVID HARVEY.