The people are as brutal and unforgiving as the climate in this tense survival story that follows Hugh Glass’s (DiCaprio) unrelenting will to survive and seek retribution amid an existence that is characterised by hardship and tragic loss.
DiCaprio and Hardy are sublime in their respective portrayals of Glass and Fitzgerald, characters who are both shaped by the horrors of their past and their will to survive.
DiCaprio gave his all to the role, preparing for the gig with method acting (including literally sleeping inside animal carcasses and eating raw meat), resulting in the delivery of an intense and engaging portrayal of human suffering.
While some critics may highlight Hardy’s mumbling at times, (potentially drawing comparisons with Hardy’s muffled and, at times difficult to understand, portrayal of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises), this vocal style and cadence totally fit the character of Fitzgerald and his perceived thought processes.
Emmanuel Lubezki’s (Gravity, Birdman, Children of Men, Sleepy Hollow) cinematography is simply extraordinary. The visuals are both breathtakingly beautiful and stomach turning. Sometimes simultaneously.
Lubezki shot entirely with natural light and this, paired with unfamiliar filming locations, provides the audience with an uncommonly realistic experience of a true frontier.