Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy give Oscar worthy performances in The Revenant.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy give Oscar worthy performances in The Revenant.

Reel Reviews: The Revenant should trap a few Oscars

Taylor and Howe say, "The Revenant is the most intense film of the year, perhaps also the best.”

  • Jan. 8, 2016 9:00 a.m.

In the 1820s an experienced American frontiersman, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), is left for dead by fellow trapper John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) after he is viciously mauled by a bear in hostile Indian territory.

Glass will drag himself out of the forest seeking vengeance.

We say, “It’s the most intense film of the year, perhaps also the best.”

TAYLOR: Director Alejandro Iñárritu brought us Birdman last year, the film that was made to appear as if it was one take. Birdman won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Inarritu for Best Director.

There are amazing scenes in The Revenant that appear to be achieved in one take: the first battle against charging natives for instance. But this film seems to be less technically crafty than Birdman but still a contender for this year’s Best Picture Oscar.

It did take a long time to make, filming only a few hours per day in the low northern sunlight.

HOWE: What a film! The Revenant has a great chance of an Oscar, or maybe three. This is one of the best performances, if not the best I have seen from DiCaprio. Leo gives a fine performance in everything he does, except perhaps for Titanic. I think it is a shame that he hasn’t won an Academy Award before. If he doesn’t get it for his role as trapper Glass in The Revenant then there is something seriously wrong with the voting system. Tom Hardy also should be nominated as Best Supporting Actor for this film. Again, here is another actor who can chameleon himself into any role, beyond recognition.

TAYLOR: I love Hardy. He’s probably going to be one of the greats. DiCaprio is capable, but not as much a chameleon as Hardy. However, as the revenant (meaning “one who comes back, esp. from the dead”), DiCaprio is unlike his usual self. Leo looks old, weathered, thin, beaten and filthy. It’s a thing of beauty to behold, as is much of the film. It’s the prettiest ugly film I’ve ever seen. Excellent performances, breathtaking cinematography and a clear powerful story told artfully, make The Revenant my early pick to win big at Oscar time.

HOWE: The story itself drags you into the frontier times. The way it is captured makes you feel you are there riding or fighting alongside the characters. Some of the scenes are disturbing, yet beautiful. The colours are shades of white, grey and black to show off the bleak countryside, (near Calgary) dotted throughout with crimson to show just how tough life was back then.

The bear mauling scene is something else. That scene itself deserves to be up for an Oscar. Fabulous film! It’s the best film I have seen this year, so far.

– Howe gives The Revenant 5 flint sparks out of 5.

– Taylor gives it 5 weeks without a shower out of 5.

Reel Reviews with Brian Taylor and Peter Howe appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.