Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Revenant ~ Film Review

by: Uel Ceballos

Before you watch The Revenant, make sure you’re in a good emotional condition, neither going through a stress nor any sort of depression. The film is as beautiful as the snowy wilderness, yet as cold and unforgiving as the hail storm. Leonardo DiCaprio has given so much for this film, more than enough to deserve him an Oscar award. The material itself is already devastating and having good ensemble to deliver the story is close to the perfection of a masterpiece. 

There are so many remarkable scenes in the film that will break your heart; at the same time make you praise the excellence that Leo had delivered for his acting. Leo is a good actor and we all know that. But what he did in The Revenant is something bigger. He certainly went through a deep internalization of his character, dig for the strongest emotion that he could get, and swam through surges of emotional pain just to get it all done with mastery. And not only Leo, but all the casts have showed a good performance. Hats off to Forrest Goodluck here for his amazing performance as Leo's son, where they nailed together the heart-melting father-son scenes in the midst of cold and tragedy. And of course Tom Hardy who made everyone hate his character so much, playing as Fitzgerald, Tom made me forgot my fangirl crush on him. 

The last White-Indian film I appreciated was the Dance with Wolves, of which novel I read first before watching the film adaptation. I read lots of novel that featured the struggle of the Native Americans and my heart goes out for them, always. But I know the white men also had their stands and reasons, and I could only go as far as sympathizing with the beaten and abused because they weren’t my own race and I couldn’t judge because I didn’t know the full history. However, I’m always sympathetic and in watching The Revenant, I became emotional with the truth that we are all victims of the territory war – no side can win, no side will ever win. 

I have researched about the real story behind the person played by Leo, who was Hugh Glass. His story, recounted many times in novels and books, had now been mixed-up by fictional events. Nonetheless, a good story was always created out of Hugh Glass’ widely known story of survival and retribution – there is so much to pull out from it and Michael Punke’s novel of The Revenant is one example. Haven’t read the full novel yet, but with Inarritu’s film adaptation of the novel I have a sure vibe that it’s equally superb. 

Aside from cinematography and good casting, two other elements worthy of praises are the scoring and the surreal sequences. Both remarkable and appealing to the audiences, these elements gave the film a separate goose bumps; aside from the suspense account of the natives and the thrilling survival of hunger, colds, and wilderness. The surrealism of Glass reminiscing the past, delivered a beautiful scene – juxtapose of the world’s ruthlessness and the love’s power over any ugly truths. The surreal, mystifying memories of Glass’ wife always break the icy cold moments in the film, those parts with restrained emotions wherein only hatred, chase, and battle are the highlights. The scoring is a great work. It didn’t spice up the scene, but the scoring is the scene itself that is reborn through the notes. Beautiful, engaging music – appealing and provoking, I love The Hateful Eight’s scoring but The Revenant is a strong contender even to this category. 

The Revenant is a great work. Kudos to director Alejandro Innarritu and to the whole production team and cast ensemble. Every scene is worth watching!

P.S. I believe this year is Leo’s year, it ought to be Leo’s year.