Leonardo DiCaprio stares solemnly at a massive mountain, frozen with ice and snow and whispers, 'I ain't afraid of dyin' anymore. I've done that already.' And so begins the first trailer of director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's follow-up to his Oscar winning Birdman: The Revenant.
Cold dread and painful solitude oozes from this mood piece. DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who is mauled by a bear and then robbed and left for dead by his companions played by Tom Hardy, Will Poulter and Domhnall Gleeson. He doesn't die. He survives and set off on an epic quest for revenge.
While the film may share visual and thematic similarities to Westerns, it is hardly your usual John Wayne style film. It is, or at least appears to be, yet another exercise in path-breaking style from director Inarritu.
There is barely any dialogue, just visceral action, which is shot in Inarritu's trademark long takes. Even though they've been chopped up for the trailer, we can safely bet that these scenes are filmed in continuous sweeping shots.
As much as a tale of revenge, The Revenant is also a survival movie. Left to fend for himself in the harsh frontier winter, Glass makes a cross-country trek to exact vengeance. He faces everything from warring outlaws to wild animals. We are also treated to some of the most brutally staged action scenes in recent memory. The shot of DiCaprio on horseback engaged in a shootout looks amazing.
We must also make special mention of Emmanuel Lubezki's absolutely stunning cinematography, perhaps the real star of the film. Chivo, as he is affectionately known shot the feature using natural light, in a particularly tough production simply because Inarittu shot the thing sequentially and in extremely remote locations. With this, Lubezki seems to be a lock for a hat-trick of cinematography Oscars.
The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson and Lukas Haas. It is written and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu with Mark L Smith sharing a co-writer credit. It is scheduled for a Christmas day release. Look for it to make a sweep at the Oscar nominations.
Watch trailer here
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