THE REVENANT

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK ON MOVIES -

Di­rec­tor: Ale­jan­dro G. Inar­ritu (Bird­man) Star­ring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domh­nall Glee­son, Will Poul­ter, For­rest Good­luck Ver­dict: The get­ting-even of wis­dom

IN The Revenant, re­venge is in­deed a dish best served cold.

How cold? The score that must be set­tled here is chilling enough to start a whole new ice age.

The only thing pre­vent­ing view­ers of The Revenant from be­com­ing frozen solid in their seats is the in­cred­i­ble heat given off by a sear­ing per­for­mance from Leonardo DiCaprio.

There is a fire in his gut that at first smoul­ders, then grad­u­ally catches alight, be­fore fi­nally com­bust­ing into an in­tense blaze.

It is an in­cred­i­ble dis­play of act­ing by DiCaprio, a ca­reer-defin­ing ef­fort that should se­cure him the next Best Ac­tor Os­car.

The dam­ag­ing majesty of the per­for­mance con­tin­u­ally lifts The Revenant to a higher place.

The end re­sult is a work of cin­ema as orig­i­nal, chal­leng­ing and un­com­pro­mis­ing as di­rec­tor Ale­jan­dro G. Inar­ritu’s pre­vi­ous film, Bird­man.

DiCaprio plays Hugh Glass, a tracker work­ing deep in the wilder­ness of the Rock­ies in the 1820s.

While lead­ing a fur-trap­ping ex­pe­di­tion across this for­bid­ding ter­rain, Glass is set upon by a fe­ro­ciously pro­tec­tive mother bear.

This is the no­to­ri­ous scene which gen­er­ated much bizarre (and mis­lead­ing) public­ity for The Revenant last month. You will forget all you might have heard about it once you see it for your­self. This is truly one of the most fright­en­ing things to have landed on the big screen in a long time.

The or­deal sends Glass to the very brink of death. Some­where be­tween his sec­ond-last and fi­nal breath, to be ex­act.

While fight­ing with all his might to stay alive, the men or­dered by the ex­pe­di­tion com­man­der to re­main at his side aban­don Glass, and make tracks for home.

One of them never liked Glass much any­way. His name is John Fitzger­ald (Tom Hardy, a wor­thy match for DiCaprio), and he is one mean piece of work. Not only did he come up with the cal­lous idea to pre-emp­tively leave Glass for dead. He also killed Glass’s only child. Just be­cause he could.

What fol­lows in The Revenant is a mes­meris­ing and of­ten pun­ish­ing chron­i­cle of how Glass fuses his sin­gu­lar in­stinct to sur­vive with his over­pow­er­ing need to find Fitzger­ald and fin­ish him off.

The di­rec­tion of Inar­ritu is dis­arm­ingly ba­sic. Hav­ing com­mit­ted to shoot The Revenant en­tirely at re­mote lo­ca­tions in only nat­u­ral light, the film­maker has only two levers he can pull when it comes to ma­nip­u­lat­ing his au­di­ence.

If your senses are not be­ing ca­ressed by the im­pos­ing, rugged grandeur of the spec­tac­u­lar set­tings, then your nerves are be­ing jabbed at mer­ci­lessly as Glass slowly closes in on Fitzger­ald.

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