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

  • 5 best 'Game of Thrones' battle scenes — so far

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Game of Thrones’ stunning Loot Train Battle was certainly one of the standout scenes during seven seasons on the HBO series. But was it the very best of the major battles that we've witnessed? With the final two episodes of Season 7 promising to be an epic showdown between Jon Snow, Cersei and Daenerys against the Army of the Undead, here's the definitive ranking of the major GoT battles thus far. Source
  • Madonna doesn't want deposition on auction of her dirty underwear taped

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Madonna has asked a judge to block cameras from videotaping a deposition in her lawsuit over the online auction of her personal items. The Material Girl hitmaker filed suit against bosses at Gotta Have It! Collectibles and her former friend, art consultant Darlene Lutz, last week, claiming items hitting the auction block had been wrongfully taken from her. Source
  • Robin Thicke, Paula Patton end custody battle

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Robin Thicke and his ex Paula Patton have reportedly resolved their custody issues by reaching a new agreement. The Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol beauty legally regained her single status in 2015, a year after her separation from Thicke, but at the start of 2017, the former couple became embroiled in a nasty court fight over the care of its seven-year-old son, Julian. Source
  • First official details of 'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman's downtown Vancouver death released by WorkSafeBC [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A woman who was killed on a stunt during filming of the movie Deadpool 2 went outside the planned boundaries of the stunt, according to an initial report by WorkSafeBC released on Friday. The report of the death of motorcycle driver Joi “S.J. Source
  • Stratford Festival explores painful chapter of Canada's past in The Komagata Maru Incident

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Stratford Festival is revisiting a painful chapter in Canada's history with The Komagata Maru Incident, but the show's stars say it is vital to continue addressing the issues at the core of the century-old story. Source
  • Judge rejects Roman Polanski victim's bid to end case

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles judge has denied the impassioned plea of Roman Polanski's victim to end the criminal case against the fugitive director. Judge Scott Gordon ruled Friday Polanski must appear in a Los Angeles court if he expects to have his four-decade-old case resolved. Source
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger releases video calling out President Trump over Charlottesville response

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Arnold Schwarzenegger is blasting Donald Trump for his response to the white supremacist and Neo-Nazi rally in Virginia, insisting it’s the U.S. President’s job to condemn the bigotry. The Republican leader has come under fire for failing to call out the hate groups after a march in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate soldier statue turned violent last weekend. Source
  • Robin Thicke, girlfriend expecting baby on Alan Thicke's birthday

    Entertainment CBC News
    Robin Thicke's girlfriend is pregnant, and their baby is due on the birthday of Thicke's late father, actor Alan Thicke. April Love Geary made the announcement on Instagram on Thursday alongside a sonogram image. She writes that "the due date is March 1st, Alan's birthday!" The actor died in December at age 69. Source
  • Lady Antebellum have jam session with Eric Stonestreet at concert

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Lady Antebellum welcomed a surprise guest onstage in Missouri on Thursday as Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet put his drumming skills to the test. The Need You Now hitmakers took their You Look Good World Tour to the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Thursday night, and Eric was among the fans who turned out for the concert in his hometown. Source
  • Investigators release details of 'Deadpool 2' stuntwoman's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's workplace safety agency has released the first official account of a "Deadpool 2" stuntwoman's death, saying SJ Harris was thrown off a motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window. The initial incident report issued by WorkSafeBC confirms witness accounts and adds new details to Monday's tragic accident in Vancouver during filming of the sequel to the popular superhero movie. Source