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

  • Reaction to criminal charges filed against Harvey Weinsten

    Entertainment CTV News
    "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us." -- Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, to The Associated Press. Source
  • Weinstein turns himself in holding 2 entertainment biographies

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Harvey Weinstein's choice of reading material for his surrender to New York authorities on Friday drew attention to a pair of entertainment biographies. Weinstein arrived at a New York police precinct holding Richard Schickel's biography of the stage and film director Elia Kazan and Todd Purdum's "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution. Source
  • Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck dies at 84

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck, who drew upon his Illinois roots for such favourites as "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder," has died. Peck died on Wednesday at his home in New York City at age 84. Source
  • At 79, Ian McKellen says he has no plans to give up acting

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Sir Ian McKellen says his upcoming role as King Lear in an upcoming London production may be his last major Shakespeare role but he has no plans on retiring, as long as his knees and memory hold out. Source
  • Seth Rogen in talks to replace Morgan Freeman as voice of Vancouver transit

    Entertainment CTV News
    Vancouver's transit system has announced plans to pull a public announcement campaign that used Morgan Freeman's voice following allegations of sexual assault which surfaced Thursday. But Vancouverites won't be left in the lurch: looks like homegrown Hollywood star Seth Rogen could fill the silence. Source
  • Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law. Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to surrender on Friday and finally face charges of sexual assault, in one of the scores of cases in which he's accused. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at police station to surrender in assault probe

    Entertainment CTV News
    Harvey Weinstein has arrived at a police station in New York where he is expected to surrender himself to face criminal charges in a sexual assault probe. Weinstein stepped from a black SUV and walked slowly into a Manhattan police station before a crowd of news cameras. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape and other charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Police say Harvey Weinstein has been arrested on rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct charges for encounters with two women. The New York Police Department disclosed the charges Friday after the movie mogul turned himself in. Source
  • Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source
  • Weinstein faces charges in prosecution amid #MeToo

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source