Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s latest directorial venture The Revenant is based on the real life events of a fur trapper Hugh Glass [played by Leonardo DiCaprio]. The stunningly ferocious The Revenant glorifies the pinnacle of Iñárritu’s brand of complexity in his glittering career as a director. But, does it live up to the hype?

The Revenant is based on Michael Punke’s novel about the real life of Hugh Glass. Iñárritu perfectly punctuates the story of Glass with dreamy moments of crafty transcendence and superhuman allegorical strength. Even the moviegoers who don’t buy Iñárritu’s brand will find themselves amazed by the technical aesthetic of his filmmaking. It wonderfully opens with a perfectly choreographed fight scene between the fur trappers and Arikara fighters that will keep the audience at the edge of their seats.

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who perfectly captured Terrence Malick’s dreamy visions in The New World and The Tree of Life, magnificently captures each move of the fight sequence with a sense of unique grandeur. On the other hand, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s hauntingly sumptuous score is equally compelling throughout the movie. The melancholic score haunts you with the brutality of Iñárritu’s storytelling that eventually catapults the beauty of stylized cinema.

The brilliance of Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith’s screenplay is coupled with a bravura performance by DiCaprio to underline the endurance of human spirit. And, the much-talked about bear attack is staged with slobbering verisimilitude that highlights Iñárritu’s grasp over his craft. There are hard-hitting sequences that merit a mention like the moment when Glass cauterizes his own throat wound with fire and to a stunt when Glass embraces himself in the horse carcass as a sleeping bag. The latter sequence is one of the centrepiece moments of the finely enriched The Revenant that proves the creative prowess of Iñárritu.

Now that I have written a lot about the #Film’s score, photography and direction, let’s talk about the issue that plagued The Revenant. The film’s length is a major drawback. It’s extremely excruciating to follow a person going through a string of dreadful situations for over 150 minutes, with virtually a wordless performance by DiCaprio.

DiCaprio, who plays the role of Hugh Glass, crawls his way through the wilderness of heart-warming landscapes. It is a complete turn from his voracious Wall Street executive role in The Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio’s fiercely daunting transformation in The Revenant banishes all memories of the blue-eyed heartthrob of The Aviator and forces you into viewing him in extreme physical pain and despair. However, Tom Hardy and Forrest Goodluck stand as the peak performers of this film. Goodluck’s each expression and dialogue is refined to perfection. He is such an incredible actor. On the other hand, Hardy is equally convincing as the cold-blooded antagonist.

Overall, The Revenant is a good film. It may not be brilliant like Iñárritu’s earlier ventures like Babel and Birdman, but it still has its heart at the right place. On the other hand, it doesn’t even produce brilliant performances like Cate Blanchett’s brief role in Babel or Michael Keaton’s commanding role in Birdman. DiCaprio is fine, but he is cleverly overtaken by Hardy and Goodluck with their brilliant performances.

Rating: ★★★☆☆