*Warning. The faint of heart may find the following description of events unsettling. I’m right with you, though.*
We now know that Leonardo DiCaprio is immune to intense hypothermia. Dear Lord, that looked cold. This epic Western survival revenge tale garnered a limited release on Christmas Day, 2015, before it’s wide release in early January. It has earned over $384 million against it’s staggering $135 million budget. Not going to lie, it’s likely that I’ll never talk about Zoolander No. 2. Everyone’s going crazy because the Oscars are this weekend, and I just recently saw the Revenant. And there are a few topics I want to get to, but have to allocate what has to be posted and what’s going to slip by. So I’m going to talk about that rather than Zoolander No.2. Very loosely based on a dark true story, it follows legendary mountain hunter Hugh Glass who is traveling with a crew of trappers in the Northern Plains to collect pelts for big money. During a hunt, Glass gets viciously mauled by a grizzly bear. While clinging on to life afterwards, John Fitzgerald, a violent and selfish fur trapper, suggests that they put him out of his misery. When away from his superior, Fitzgerald kills Hawk, Glass’ half-Native son, and leaves Glass for dead. But he survived, and starts crawling back through the wilderness to hopefully kill John Fitzgerald. However, I feel the need to inform you that, contrary to what the hype may tell you, this is not “Kill Bill in the Wilderness.” If you enter the theater expecting that, your going to be disappointed and bored. It’s more a survival film about the incredible endurance of man; Glass spends more time fighting against the stark brutality of Mother Nature than he does Fitzgerald. What’s more is that the film was shot almost entirely in natural lighting, emphasizing the fact we’re actually in the forest. I’m sure Fox wasn’t happy about the money this cost, and it did force Tom Hardy to drop out of Suicide Squad. But, two things resulted from this. First, the entire time, I legitimately felt colder and colder as the movie went on because that’s the type of effect the natural lighting had. Secondly, the cinematography was simply astonishing. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous, and like we saw in Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki took the opportunity to make many long takes. That’s probably the one flaw with the movie is that I feel they did too many scenes panning the camera. Especially during the action moments because, guys, the fights in this film were very dirty. My God, that bear attack scene. Oh man, that was so intense and disturbing. Make no mistake, it’s a great scene, but like most of the rest of the movie, it’s so intense that you feel uncomfortable watching it for entertainment. That entire time, my hand was over my mouth in shock and horror for five solid minutes. And yes, everyone gave a fantastic performance. Leonardo DiCaprio shows that he has come a long way since his days as pretty boy Romeo. He deserves his Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and judging from the acclaim he’s received, he might finally win this year. Tom Hardy shouldn’t be overlooked as John Fitzgerald. You see, I was among the twelve people who actually liked The Dark Knight Rises. As I was watching Bane’s scenes, I though, “I don’t know who that is, but I want to see him more because he’s great.” And now Tom Hardy’s taking over Hollywood. He’s Mad Max, Bane, and now Fitzgerald. Even Will Poulter from the Maze Runner did a spectacular job. His role as Jim Bridger, a young trapper who’s just following orders, added a unique perspective on the story. In the end, The Revenant may not be as exciting as I had expected, but it’s still the most violent and realistic revenge story that I have seen in many years. The main character isn’t Hugh Glass or John Fitzgerald, but the grueling elements of survival.