"I ain't afraid to die anymore. I'd done it already", these words are the heart of The Revenant. This biographical western film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, written by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu, based in part on Michael Punke's novel of the same name. Inspired by true events, in an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald. Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.
Development of The Revenant began in August 2001, with producer Akiva Goldsman acquiring the rights to Michael Punke's unpublished manuscript. The film was originally set to be directed by Park Chan-wook with Samuel L. Jackson in mind to star. But ultimately did not happen. The development stalled until 2010, when Mark L. Smith was brought on to pen the script. In May 2010, John Hillcoat was attached to direct the film and that Christian Bale was in negotiations to star. Hillcoat left the project in October 2010. Ultimately, Iñárritu signed on to direct in August 2011. In April 2014, after several delays in production due to other projects, Iñárritu confirmed that he was beginning work on the film and that DiCaprio would play the lead role. The film was granted a production budget of $60 million. Principal photography began in October 2014 and was filmed in 12 different locations throughout Canada, United States, Argentina. Delays associated with location and crew challenges resulted in its end date moving from May to August 2015. Ultimately, in July 2015, it was reported that the film's budget had ballooned from the original $60 million to $95 million, and by the time production wrapped it had reached $135 million.
The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson. The cast gave spectacular performances and some of the finest performances of their careers, especially DiCaprio. DiCaprio will undoubtedly win the Oscar for Best Actor considering the performance he gave and the lengths he took to achieve it.
Violent and definitely not for the squeamish, Iñárritu's visceral The Revenant is a strange, powerful tale of revenge. Even though this film isn't for everyone, it offers a breath of fresh air to anyone gasping on the fumes of too many traditional Hollywood thrillers. It is a work of art that is anguished, beautiful, and desperately alive and it is a dazzling work of cinematic artistry. This is cinema that holds an edge of cold steel to your throat. A bloody and brutal revenge film immersed in madness and directed with operatic intensity, and the film's humanistic questions are not lost in the battering assault of lovingly crafted brutality. You might not like where it goes, but if you can appreciate artistic merit in your varied cinematic entertainment, then grow into it.
Simon says The Revenant receives: