Leonardo DiCaprio is something of an anomaly. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest actors of his generation, and he has a set of Academy Award nominations to prove it – and yet, he has never won. The director of his new movie has, though – three times, to be exact. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has come to The Revenant from the hugely successful, and very unusual Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and looks to have crafted another unusual and fascinating film – or so says his star, DiCaprio, in a recent interview with Yahoo.
“It’s going to be one of the most unique film-going experiences that audiences have seen in modern times. It’s epic poetry, an existential journey though nature, and this man finding a will to live against all odds.
“I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do. Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly.”
“What we were trying to pull off was so incredibly ambitious, and [Alejandro] is vigilant and incredibly specific about what he wants up on screen, and he won’t accept anything less… Everyone I saw was giving their heart and soul to pursuing his vision.”
The film is a biographical western, based on the novel of the same name, by Michael Punke. It tells the story of Wyoming frontiersman Hugh Glass who, in 1823, was on the trail with fellow fur trappers when a bear attacked him. Taking the opportunity, his fellow trappers killed his son, stole from him and left him to die. He survived the incident, however, and embarked on a 200 mile trip to exact his revenge.
The Revenant was adapted for the screen by Inarritu and Mark L. Smith (Vacancy), and is clearly a classic testosterone-soaked tale of man striking beast, beast striking man, man striking man, and man striking back. What will elevate it above the thousands of other times that tale has been told in cinema is the work of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who continues to push the envelope of what filmmaking can be in modern times.
Here, he has apparently insisted upon a naturalistic approach – using only the environment available to him to create the necessary atmosphere in which to allow this familiar narrative to unfold. All of these elements combine for an end result that Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be very confident in, and which should provide alternative theatrical fare amid Star Wars fever, when it is released on December 25th, 2015.