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Hollywood Contenders – “The Revenant” reviews hit

The Revenant Leo DiCaprio
Finally. After having seen The Revenant a few weeks ago and been under embargo from speaking about it, the veil of secrecy finally lifts. I’m in the same position with The Hateful Eight, embargo wise, but today I can talk about Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s latest. Surprising no one, this is a very good film, though perhaps it will surprise some how brutal it is. Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely put through the wringer here, which won’t hurt his Oscar chances. I’ll get into it more below, but The Revenant is definitely a play for Academy Award nominations, though wins in more than one or two places may be harder to come by.

The film is an adaptation of the Michael Punke novel of the same name and concerns a fur trapper (DiCaprio) and his quest for vengeance after being betrayed and left for dead by his former compatriots in the aftermath of a bear mauling. When one of his former coworkers (Tom Hardy) kills his son, that’s the last straw. The less said about what happens next besides that, the better…especially once you see how the Trailers so far have chosen to tell this story. DiCaprio stars in the main role, with supporting players in addition to Hardy including Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, and Lukas Haas, just to name a few. Iñárritu is obviously in the director’s chair (as well as one of the producers), while the adaptation of the book is by him and Mark L. Smith. Also of note, the DP here is the legendary Emmanuel Lubezki, who actually could be the frontrunner to win another Oscar, if you can believe it.

Leo DiCaprio the revenant

I don’t think I loved it quite as much as others did, but The Revenant is a very strong flick. The script might be a little on the nose at times, but Iñárritu continues to show that he’s a hell of a director, especially when paired with DP Lubezki. Iñárritu puts DiCaprio through the fires of Hades, but it does result in one of the actor’s better performances. If this is what winds up winning him his first Academy Award, I won’t complain. It’s a visual treat, this movie, though probably 2015’s most violent film. Could that put off some voters? Sure. Will it keep it from being given multiple Oscar nominations? Probably not.

Awards wise, this is something with obvious potential across the board. We can start with Best Picture, Best Director (for Iñárritu), Best Actor (for DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (for Hardy, though Gleeson is good too), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Iñárritu and Smith), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing. That could make for double digit nominations, with Picture, Director (Iñárritu), Actor (DiCaprio), and Cinematography having to be ones that you probably can mark down as most likely. Hardy in Supporting Actor could definitely happen as well. It’s early, but this one has certainly left an impression on me, as well as many other pundits. I doubt it will do as well as Birdman did, but I suppose anything is possible.

Overall, I would be shocked if The Revenant isn’t given multiple nominations by Academy members when all is said and done. It will definitely need some precursor love, in particular with the guilds, but assuming that happens, there’s no reason not to expect this to do well. It won’t make my Top Ten list this year, but my thumb is definitely up and I would recommend this to anyone on the fence, if there’s anyone who hasn’t already made this a must see. It’s intense, but a worthwhile experience in the end. This isn’t the last we’ll speak of this one though, so sit tight for more…

Stay tuned to see how The Revenant does with Oscar voters!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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