I just saw my Oscar pick for 2015: The Revenant.
In short, this film does what I believe great movies should do: it takes us on a journey that transcends the medium.
The starkness of the wilderness, captured in all its timeless beauty by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, is awe-inspiring; I see another Oscar coming. (It makes me wish there was a release, ala The Hateful Eight, on film rather than digital.)
And the action sequences are both brutal and fascinating in their matter-of-factness. No punches are pulled, and the camera never blinks. Yet at the same time, the camera, acting almost as a disinterested third-party, lets the action speak for itself. And it speaks volumes. (This film definitely deserves its R rating.)
And the acting…
Leonardo DiCaprio, who I’ve liked since I saw him in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, just plain owns this movie. He actually doesn’t have a lot of dialogue; however, he tells an amazing story just with his facial expressions. And the chameleon-like Tom Hardy once again shows that the breadth and depth of his acting talent appears to have no limits. His character was nothing short of bone-chilling.
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) adeptly and exquisitely combines all of this to make a tense, gut-wrenching, mind-numbing journey out of a fairly simple, linear story.
If you don’t see any other film this year, see this one. If for no other reason than to learn what all the Oscars will surely be about!
Now why, you might wonder, did I choose a version of the movie poster that you’ve likely never seen – the one featuring Tom Hardy rather than Leonardo DiCaprio? Because while DiCaprio’s performance was truly outstanding (and he carried the weight of this film squarely on his shoulders), Hardy’s performance was almost otherworldly. The portrayal he gave is, I believe, one for the ages.