Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Realism of The Revenant (2015)

"If we ended up in greenscreen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit."

I wondered throughout if it was all done for real, but yes it was. The Revenant, a 2015 movie, nominated for 12 oscars, is a beefy deal to get over with. Glad to have screened it tonite when Yogi was over. "Starkly beautiful and uncompromising", as one review calls it; ditto.

I did know it would be about the outback, and especially focused on survival, unaware of the background that it is based on the trapper expeditions in the harsh American north. Also didn't know the man behind it - Inarritu - all of whose movies I have enjoyed and found a lot of awareness encapsulated. Babel also had a similar theme of unfolding drama among people of diverse ethnicities and languages. But whereas in Babel the camera swept back and forth between interconnected dramas unfolding in the Moroccan deserts to the Japanese clubs to the Mexican and American border, here the camera is set solely on the American outback, and all "different" peoples - Arikara, Pawnee, Siouxee, French, English - converge here to create an epic drama.

After watching this movie, I admire the skills of the trapper and the survivor even more. Just a week back was I introduced to Nessmuk, a legendary American wilderness survivalist, pulling me back into the feverish thought; and today came The Revenant. Long wilderness reveries to follow in the near future.
Stories started to swirl off the set of the film in the summer. Crew spoke of enduring a “living hell”, of being forced to work in -25C temperatures, of travelling for hours to remote locations in Canada and Argentina to film for a mere 90 minutes, the result of Iñárritu’s decision to shoot only in natural light. 
Leonardo DiCaprio went through hell to play indestructible fur trapper Hugh Glass in The Revenant
PS: 2016 Oscars had some predictable outcomes
- Best Director for Alejandro Inarritu - two consecutive Oscar wins is a feat not seen in the last 65 years, and one which establishes the dominance of the Three Amigos (the Mexican trio of Inarritu, Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron)
- Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio - and his first Oscar!
- Best Cinematography for Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki. He is now the first cinematographer in history to win three consecutive Oscars, following gongs for Birdman (2015) and Gravity (2014)

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