Alejandro González Iñárritu is fresh off having picked up a handful of Oscars for his darkly satirical Birdman, but the filmmaker isn't resting on his laurels; on the contrary, he will be back in 2015 with another movie that already has cinephiles buzzing. The project in question is The Revenant, a historical drama/thriller that tells the story of real-life mountain man Hugh Glass: a figure whose life has been depicted on the big screen before, though will now be brought to life via a performance by Leonardo DiCaprio and Iñárritu's direction.
The Revenant reunites Iñárritu with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who received Academy Awards for his sequence shot-heavy work - bringing outer space to unnerving life in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, and then capturing the frantic energy of the New York theater scene with Iñárritu's Birdman. However, with The Revenant, Lubezki and Iñárritu have recreated the unconquered early 1800s North American wilderness, by way of a challenging shooting approach that included filming in remote parts of Calgary with nothing but natural light. That technique will pay off quite well too, judging by the first Revenant trailer footage (see above).
Here is 20th Century Fox's official synopsis for The Revenant:
Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an immersive and visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the extraordinary power of the human spirit. In an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures unimaginable grief as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Guided by sheer will and the love of his family, Glass must navigate a vicious winter in a relentless pursuit to live and find redemption.
The cast for The Revenant is small, but quite impressive, with Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina) and Will Poulter (We're the Millers, The Maze Runner) filling key supporting roles. Meanwhile, the film's script was penned by Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith (The Hole), who partly drew inspiration from Michael Punke's book about Glass' story, "The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge".
Iñárritu's approach to shooting The Revenant resulted in the film's production running several months longer than expected, though the first trailer suggests the finale movie result could be as "exceptional" as costar Tom Hardy previously teased it would be. The film's setting comes off as exceptionally vivid and tangible in the teaser trailer, all the more so thanks to the percussive music that accompanies the footage (reminiscent of Birdman's use of a chaotic jazz drum score) and what is shaping up to be yet another no-holds-barred committed (and intense) performance by DiCaprio.
The brutal tone and subject matter of The Revenant may not be all that appealing to some moviegoers, much as Birdman's decidedly unsentimental look at show-business wasn't everyone's cup of tea (all the talk of daring technical craftsmanship aside). Nonetheless, there will certainly be a crowd interested in giving this one the time of day - being the latest addition to Iñárritu's increasingly eclectic (and overall intriguing) body of work as a director.
The Revenant begins an awards-season qualify limited theatrical release in the U.S. on December 25th, 2015; it expands nation-wide on January 8th, 2016.
Source: 20th Century Fox