I’ve always been a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and his work. When Rose refused to make room for him on that wooden panel, I cried. When his character was killed in The Departed, I was destroyed. When he was denied an Oscar nomination for both these performances, my heart broke yet again. But I told myself; my heart will go on.
So despite the fact that the trailer for The Revenant looks utterly dreadful and I vehemently declared, “You can’t pay me to see that,” I did. I mean, how could I not? Leo’s winning every award under the sun for this performance, his Oscar buzz is at an all time high, and it’s Leo - I had no choice. I had to see it. And since I’m collecting $450 from the government this week while unemployed, I figured Uncle Sam wouldn’t mind if I added another $7.50 back into our economy for an afternoon matinee.
Well, to be honest; I’m still not really sure what to even think of this film or why it’s called The Revenant. What does that even mean? Much like Rose on that piece of wood, I might have to sit on this one for a few more days. It’s definitely not an easy film to watch due to the gruesome, graphic violence and imagery. And unless I blatantly missed something, I still have no idea exactly where or what year it all took place or even what the purpose really was. All I know is Leo, his half Indian son, Tom Hardy, a bunch of other unkempt characters and one hot ginger with great hair and great lips are running around in the middle of winter killing Native American Indians one minute and then befriending them the next. These men are all dressed in animal hides, traipsing through snow, crossing ice-cold rivers on foot, and eating raw animal meat like it’s nothing. My mind kept wandering wondering why no one freezes to death, develops gangrene, suffers frostbite while sleeping, catches a parasite or develops other intestinal issues from eating bloody bison meat. (I would not have lasted two days on this excursion!) I did remain focused long enough though to know that if Leo does not win an Oscar for this performance, the poor bastard never will.
Initially, I wondered why on earth he would even agree to this film? He’s rolling around in snow, being dragged by the current down a raging river, buried in dirt, covered in bloody make-up and filthy clothing and attacked by everyone and everything. It all just seems so horrific. But I’m sure his agent probably mailed him this script with a post-it note on the cover that read, “Here’s your Oscar…finally!”
Overall, Leo gives yet another stellar performance. No surprise there. He doesn’t speak much but does convey plenty emotionally. The bear scene that everyone and their mother have been talking about for months is indeed a nail biter, but there’s another scene with a horse carcass that I found even more disturbing. Despite the lack of Leo dialogue and difficulty watching some seriously gnarly stuff happen to one of America’s most endearing movie stars, Leo beat the odds, kept his heart going on and survived this brutal blood bath. He truly deserves the Oscar for this one indeed.
PS - I just looked up the meaning of revenant, defined as “a person who has returned, especially supposedly from the dead.” That works well.