There is a lot of buzz about The Revenant leading up to the Academy Awards and the will-they-or-won’t-they moment as far as Leonard DiCaprio winning the award for best actor, but I wish it wasn’t about that.
The film is certainly deserving of its critical praise but the award contention behind it all, or at least the focus on it, seems to take away from what The Revenant accomplishes on screen and in the world of cinema.
I like to think Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t take this role, or any role, to get an award. I didn’t watch his Golden Globes acceptance speech, but heard it seemed very prepared. Is that because he deep down isn’t an actor for the purpose of winning awards and doesn’t really care about them or because he expects to win?
I also like to think it’s the latter based on the way DiCaprio takes on such complex roles and immerses himself in the characters. I hope if he does win an Academy Award for The Revenant that he is surprised by it and not prepared for the moment.
Critics say DiCaprio’s Oscar this year, or whenever he may win one, will be a career award. He deserves it but all the talk about an award really serves no purpose other than taking away the surprise factor if Chris Rock says “and the Oscar goes to … Leonardo DiCaprio …” on Feb. 28 and again the focus on his work.
See, I already spent the whole intro to this blog writing about anything but DiCaprio’s role in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s latest film. The Revenant is inspired by true events experienced by explorer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), Captain Andrew Henry (Domnhall Gleeson) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) as they face the elements of a harsh winter and conflicts with each other.
As is well known from the promotion of the film, Glass is attacked by a bear and left behind by some of his team. It then becomes a revenge story as much as a quest for Glass to survive and not let how he was betrayed and his losses define the rest of his life.
Tom Hardy’s performance shows his range as an actor, but I think Glass’ character is more dynamic and DiCaprio had to show that through far less interaction with other characters and dialogue.
Gleeson stood out in his role as the captain of the hunters who tried to keep peace and loyalty in the group, which Fitzgerald challenged throughout the film.
Iñárritu also tells the story of The Revenant through interactions between the characters and nature and the elements that add to the definition of their struggles throughout the film.
I saw the film, actually not intentionally, in a Dolby ATMOS theater that amplified all the sounds and music. I thought the effects from the theater’s technology were more of a distraction than addition to the film and made some of the already intense scenes too intense for me.
The actors and crew of The Revenant, from what I’ve heard, already immersed themselves in the environment they were portraying so I don’t think it’s a film that needs any features to enhance what is already there.
All I recommend is that you see The Revenant in a theater instead of waiting until it is available to watch at home and try to detach yourself from the buzz about it and its cast. Then you will see a beautiful, sad and conclusive film rather than just the idea of one that has what it takes to win an award.