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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Die Hard with a Vengeance

In the wake of his snappy and delightfully trippy continuous-shot mindfuck of an Academy Awards winner for Best Picture, ‘Birdman,’ Alejandro G. Iñárritu follows up with ‘The Revenant,’ a harrowing tale of survival and revenge set in the wild and uncharted territories of early 19th Century America.  In so doing the critically acclaimed Mexican director, whose previous credits include ‘Amores Perros,’ ’21 Grams,’ ‘Babel,’ ‘Biutiful’ and ‘Birdman,’ is now a perfect 6-for-6 at bat in being nominated in at least one category for each and every one of his movies at the Oscars.  Now that’s what you call an Oscar-darling.
 
Based on Michael Punke’s bestselling novel of the same name, ‘The Revenant’ is the unbelievable but true story of Hugh Glass, a wilderness guide and trapper on a pelt hunting expedition in the harsh and unforgiving territories of what is now North Dakota and Montana.  After being badly wounded by a grizzly and left for dead by his erstwhile fellows, Glass managed to overcome great odds to survive, trek across hundreds of miles while evading hostile Native Americans, and dish out righteous retribution against the trapper (John Fitzgerald played by Tom Hardy) who murdered his half-Indian son Hawk and unsuccessfully tried to kill him.  As the movie’s protagonist, Leonardo DiCaprio delivered yet another Oscar-worthy performance and opened our eyes to a time when men were made of much sterner stuff.
 
More than simply a historical epic, ‘The Revenant’ is a marvelous odyssey and a true testament to the strength of will and fortitude of spirit.  Combining the humanism and mysticism of Kevin Costner's ‘Dances with Wolves’ with the action-adventure and storytelling of Michael Mann’s ‘Last of the Mohicans,’ ‘The Revenant’ adds proof to the pudding that AGI is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today.
 
Grade: A 
 
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