Review: DiCaprio shines in the visceral misery of 'The Revenant'

THE REVENANT: 4 STARS

The last time we saw Leonardo DiCaprio he was driving a Ferrari and picking up $26,000 dinner tabs.

See Full Article

"The Wolf of Wall Street" star is back on the big screen in "The Revenant," but now the fancy cars have been replaced with horses, the dinners with raw bison meat.

Very loosely based on real events, DiCaprio plays American fur trapper Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who became a legend when he trekked across country after a brutal bear attack.

The Revenant film review

In the film it’s 1823 and Glass is scouting for a team of fur trappers. The territory is tough, the men even tougher. When Glass is mauled by a bear the company splits into two groups.

The first, led by Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) heads for home base, while the other—Glass’s son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), hotheaded trapper John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and the inexperienced Jim Bridger (Will Poulter)—is paid handsomely to stay with Glass, and provide a decent burial when he succumbs to his injuries.

Fitzgerald, more interested in getting paid than waiting for Glass to die, hurries the process along, stabbing Hawk and throwing the half dead scout into a hastily dug hole. When Glass comes to he has just one thing on his mind—revenge.

"I ain’t afraid to die no more," he says. "I done it already."

This is Leo’s "Jeremiah Johnson," a movie that masks his matinee idol good looks with facial hair and grimaces. His journey is at the heart of the movie but he shares the weight of carrying the film with Hardy.

For much of the two-and-a-half-hour running time DiCaprio is mute, alone on screen crawling across the frozen landscape, slowly making his way toward Fitzgerald and his proposed revenge.

The Revenant film review

There are great physical demands made on the actor—the Bear-Maul-O-Rama being just one of the miseries he endures—but this is an internal performance.

The character’s strength, pain, frustration, anger and intestinal fortitude are apparent not only in his actions—he cauterizes wounds with gun powder!—but, more importantly, in his eyes. There’s the will to survive and then there’s whatever is driving Glass and whatever that is, it’s written on DiCaprio’s face. It may not be his flashiest role—although he does get to disembowel a horse—but it is one of his best.

Hardy’s Fitzgerald is painted in broader strokes. Driven by greed, this guy makes Bane look as morally bankrupt as Mary Poppins. Intimidating and ruthless, Hardy is a force of nature equal to anything Mother Nature places in Glass’s way.

Perhaps the "The Revenant’s" most complex character is Will Poulter’s Jim Bridger. He’s the runt of the litter, the youngest member of the expedition. Torn between loyalty to Hawk and Glass, his responsibility to his employers and his moral obligations, he is trapped in an impossible situation. Poulter pulls it off with a mix of steely determination and vulnerability.

"The Revenant" is the cinema of misery on screen and off. I’d suggest theatre-goers wear a sweater because the sense of cold and discomfort experienced by Glass is palpable.

On screen the primal story of revenge spares nothing to illustrate the hardships faced by all involved but director Alejandro González Iñárritu hasn’t simply made a gruesome film for the sake of upsetting the audience. Instead, it’s a movie that ends in a question mark. Is Glass’s payback justified or a hollow mission? Iñárritu leaves that decision to the audience, and it is sure to spark conversation as the closing credits roll.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Federal court to hear 'Making a Murderer' appeal

    Entertainment CTV News
    MADISON, Wis. -- A federal appeals court will consider arguments Tuesday over whether detectives tricked a Wisconsin inmate featured in the "Making a Murderer" series into confessing and whether he should go free in a case that puts police practices in the spotlight. Source
  • Scott Disick, Sofia Richie make is Instagram official [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Scott Disick and Sofia Richie have taken their romance to the next level by sharing pictures of each other on social media. After weeks of rumours, the reality TV star and Lionel Richie’s daughter confirmed they were dating last week when they were pictured kissing on a beach in Miami, and they have already stepped up their relationship by making it Instagram official. Source
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan accidentally reveals he and wife Hilarie Burton are expecting a baby girl [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jeffrey Dean Morgan was left red-faced after accidentally revealing that he and wife Hilarie Burton are expecting a daughter at the Supernatural convention in New Jersey on Sunday. The 51-year-old actor was just one of the castmembers of the hit U.S. Source
  • Caitlyn Jenner's rep confirms Kylie's pregnancy, has known for 'some time' [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kylie Jenner’s father Caitlyn has known about the 20-year-old’s shock pregnancy for “some time”, according to a spokesperson for the transgender Olympian. The reality TV star and make-up mogul hit headlines on Friday amid multiple reports suggesting she is expecting a baby with her rapper boyfriend Travis Scott. Source
  • 'It’s not my hand': Taron Egerton refused to shoot sex scene in 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Poppy Delevingne’s husband landed an unexpected cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle after leading man Taron Egerton declined to shoot a controversial sex scene with the model-turned-actress. Egerton reprises his role as spy Eggsy Unwin in the sequel to 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service, and part of the plot requires Unwin to get intimate with his mission target, Clara, played by Poppy, to plant a tracking device in her genitals. Source
  • Jennifer Lopez donates $1M to Puerto Rico relief

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Jennifer Lopez has pledged $1 million toward hurricane relief efforts in her family's native Puerto Rico. Lopez announced during a news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday that she would give money from her ongoing Las Vegas residency to various charities in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Source
  • Francois Girard's 'Hochelaga' is Canada's pick for best foreign-language film

    Entertainment CTV News
    Actors, from left, Samian, Naiade Aoun, and Wahiakeron Gilbert, as well as producer Roger Frappier, and Telefilm Canada's executive director Carolle Brabant, pose for photos after the film "Hochelaga, Land of Souls," was named as Canada's entry in the race for the 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar on Sept. Source
  • Prince Harry, Meghan Markle make first official public appearance together

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle have made their first official public appearance as a couple. The prince and Markle, a Toronto-based actor in the legal drama "Suits," held hands Monday afternoon as they walked toward Toronto's city hall to take in one of the sporting events for the Invictus Games. Source
  • Hochelaga, terre des âmes named Canada's foreign-language contender for the Oscars

    Entertainment CBC News
    Hochelaga, terre des âmes has been chosen to represent Canada for the best foreign-language film Oscar. The film was written and directed by Quebecer François Girard, the director of 1998's The Red Violin. Carolle Brabant, the executive director of Telefim Canada, made the announcement in Montreal Monday afternoon. Source
  • Toronto premiere of 'Muriel’s Wedding' delayed, Mirvish adds three new shows

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - Mirvish Productions is delaying the Toronto premiere of “Muriel’s Wedding,” the musical adaptation of the film that was set to debut in the spring. The theatre production company says scheduling conflicts have caused the delay. Source