Directed By : Alejandro González Iñárritu
Screenplay By: Mark L. Smith & Alejandro González Iñárritu
Based on: The Revenant By Michale Punke
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
“You came all the way just for your revenge?
Well, you enjoy it Glass ‘cause ain’t nothing gonna bring your son back.”
These are the words of a man on the brink of getting killed by the man whose son he had murdered. With these words, the dying man has made revenge futile. the satisfaction associated with this revenge is gone. There is no purpose that can be served by this revenge. So what will our hero do? He can’t just let him go because the only purpose life can serve him is this revenge. Go watch The Revenant, find out.
I would suggest you to drop all your notions about cinema with your vehicles in the parking lot . There is no story telling because honestly there is no story to tell at all. It’s a journey; a dark, brutal, disturbing, unsettling journey to a bizarre world where just by enlisting your name with a company you can kill hundreds of people but if you abandon a dying man without waiting for him to die, you would be charged with murder. This is a world where you can kill savagely a whole village but not giving a proper burial to your own fellow is a crime. Why am I trying to picture these as something strange from the distant past? Isn’t it the same with modern nation states and their armies?
I have read somewhere that no ideal political utopia, no achievement, no resolution can hide what man ultimately is. In the complete absence of all these good words, man needs no hiding. He is out there into the wild, more savage than the beasts, unapologetic about everything he does. He subconsciously doesn’t hold himself responsible for anything he does because the society (if it can be called so) has made him as he is and circumstances force him to do whatever good or bad he does. Thus, he unknowingly knows and proves the Basic Argument against Free Will. The boundary between good and evil and even between life and death has been overthrown in this brutal war of survival with nature.
So, is this a story of survival against odds? Superficially watching this film gives that impression. But as I told you already there is no story to tell. The director, Gonzalez Inarritu, wants us to experience something; he is showing us something that we have never seen. The two main characters Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the brutal wilderness (playing itself) are in a war with each other. In this war, Glass is alone but the wilderness has some accomplices in the form of native Indians, a grisly and Mr. John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fitzgerald murders Glass’ son when Glass is rendered immobile by an attacking grisly and leaves him for dead. Glass “The Revenant” rises from the grave and hunts down his son’s killer. That’s all.
All these characters that I have named, including Glass, are merely in supporting roles here. The central character is the landscape, the wilderness. The camera (Emmanuel Lubezki) shows its true colors. It is beautiful yet very scary. Hope or one can say hopelessness is shown through the camera with the never-ending torturous journey of Hugh Glass. Everyone is talking about Lubezki’s superb camerawork. It’s really superb. The entire wilderness, snow capped landscapes were already there and will always be but with his camera, he made the nature, this film’s central character. With minimal background score and relying on the sound of heavy breathing as its main background score, keeps us near to the characters. It seems we are standing next to Mr. Glass listening to his breathing, feeling its warmth and sharing his misery.
The power of this film is that while watching it, you are no more a third person listening to a story. You become the person to whom it’s all happening. Leonardo DiCaprio, with his ‘Oscar-winning’ (?) performance doesn’t allow you to just sit and feel sorry for him, rather he takes you along with him on this journey where a human life has no value. But the emotions, the human emotions are very real. You feel what he feels. Trust me this is insane. This is not just an artistic vision. This is the next level in cinema.
The famous Proust quote that I use frequently, “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This is The Revenant; it gives us the new eyes.
Already 12 Oscar nominations and my picks are
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Robert A. Pandini
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Frank A. Montaño
and may be
Best Achievement in Directing
Alejandro González Iñárritu