The Revenant [2015] ★★★½

revenant-leoPrepare yourself for the most tension-filled Western film you’ve seen in a very long time. Writer director Alejandro González Iñárritu follows up last year’s Oscar winner “Birdman” with another spectacular film. “The Revenant” is an epic 156 minutes survival story set in the cold West, circa 1823. Leonardo DiCaprio gives a brutal, Oscar worthy performance as Hugh Glass, a man seeking revenge against the criminal (played by an excellent Tom Hardy) who murdered his son and left him half dead. Iñárritu is out to shatter your nerves. And does he ever. In lesser hands, the plot could be campy Western. But Iñárritu is a fearless visionary. He aims to push his limits and, ultimately, ours. A brutal scene early on finds DiCaprio wrestling a mama Grizzly and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. But it wouldn’t be fair to discuss “The Revenant” without talking about the beautiful cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki and the haunting score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner. And at the center of it all is Leonardo DiCaprio. The actor, now 41,  learned to build a fire, speak two native American Languages and had to eat a raw slab of bison’s liver in one of the movie’s best sequences. His portrait of a man who has nothing left to lose is unmissable and unforgettable. So is the movie. It’s easily one of 2015’s best films.

Rating: 3.5/4


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