Following a preliminary screening in Beverly Hills, new film The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio, received a standing ovation and is now hotly tipped as a serious Oscar contender in several major categories.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman) the epic is loosely based on the harrowing real-life survival tale of fur trapper Hugh Glass (c. 1780–1833) and promises bloody entrails, shattered bones, grisly hand-to-hand violence, one very murderous grizzly bear and the most beautiful B-roll footage of the year.
The brutal, blood-soaked drama looks like receiving Oscar nominations promise including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Cinematography and a Best Director repeat for Iñárritu.
The film is already gaining notoriety due to its difficult production, whose cold, emotionally fraught conditions in the frozen wilds of Canada, with very few comforts has created an on-screen dynamic of pain and suffering mirroring what the cast and crew were actually experiencing.
Iñárritu told Mashable:
The conditions were absolutely against us all the time. Now that I’ve seen the whole process, the gift of going through this challenging thing — the odyssey of making this film became even bigger than what these guys were going through. Thematically, it’s about resilience and endurance. As long as you have a breath, you have to fight.
During the challenging shoot – in which DiCaprio allegedly slept inside an animal carcass and ate raw bison to get into character – a number of crew members quit, others were fired and much grumbling and bickering was reported. However this has just increased interest in the film and the experiences of its stars.
It was all a big, beautiful blur to me. This was such a unique process for all of us as actors. We had to rehearse meticulously and it was this mad, intense scramble to capture this magic light, this precious hour and a half of beautiful illustrious light — and so it became very much like a humorous ‘Saturday Night Live’ situation.”
What comes out onscreen is reportedly far from funny. According to Mashable’s Josh Dickey “It is a blunt and harrowing depiction of Glass, a Dakota Territories frontiersman who was left for dead after a grizzly bear attack who survives, only to seek out the men who gave up on his survival.”
If these early reports, as well as the director and cast are anything to go by, this has got to be a must see. It’s due out in the States on January 8th and the 15th in the UK. Epic.