First look: Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant - no spoilers

EDGAR holds on tight for this epic new movie about bears, blood and revenge.

Robert Chilton January 7, 2016

EDGAR took its seat at a preview screening of the talked-about movie The Revenant last night. The film opens in the UAE today and is expected to be a huge box office hit as well as an award contender.

The brutal yet beautiful movie from director Alejandro González Iñárritu is set in the 1820s American wilderness and tells the story of a fur trapper named Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, on a revenge mission.

Based on true events, the two and a half hour epic was plagued by on-set difficulties but the hard work has paid off as The Revenant will surely be among the Oscars in February and could at last bring Leo his first golden statue - how has he not won one yet? Here are the major talking points from the movie.

A man of few words

Leo truly is the strong silent type in The Revenant. Should he win an Oscar for his performance as Glass, it won’t be because of his delivery of the script. Leo barely speaks in the movie, offering instead a series of grunts, growls and howls as he struggles to survive in the wilderness. Leo’s co-star Tom Hardy, on the other hand, chatters away as Glass’ fellow fur trapper Fitzgerald.

Tom Hardy

The British actor has been quietly gaining respect in recent years with his strong performances in Mad Max: Fury Road, Locke, Warrior and Legend and now The Revenant should push him into the elite league of cinema’s leading men. An Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor? You betcha.

Bring a blanket

You can see the actors’ breath in nearly every scene of this snowy movie. Numerous stories emerged from the set about cast and crew experiencing discomfort in freezing filming conditions in Canada and Argentina and when you see the finished article, you’ll tend to believe them. This movie will make you feel cold, so wrap up warm.

Movie marathon

Yes, it’s two and a half hours but you won’t be checking your watch. The action zips along and there is genuine drama and tension throughout.

Poetry in motion

As we saw in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s previous films Amores Perros, Babel and Biutiful, there is a poetic atmosphere to his work. Yes, The Revenant is tough, raw and bloody, but there are moments of real artistry and visual beauty from Iñárritu. This film will no doubt bring another Best Director nomination for him to add to his win for Birdman at last year’s Oscars.

The scene with the bear

We won’t give too much away but the sequence in which Leo’s character is mauled by a grizzly bear in the forest will go down in movie history as one of the all time great scenes. If you want to know more, read here how it was done: http://blogs.indiewire.com

Down and dirty

Leonardio DiCaprio will be polished and groomed to within an inch of his life on the red carpet at the Oscars but, boy, did he get his hands dirty in The Revenant. A beardy, sweaty Leo spits and froths at the mouth as he munches on raw bison, eats fish heads, crawls through mud and sleeps inside a horse’s carcass in this gruelling performance.

Location

The Canadian tourist board should be receiving plenty of enquiries after the movie’s release because there are some truly jaw-dropping shots of the country’s wilderness. Mountains, lakes, rivers, forests – every scene is beautifully framed by acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki who has been nominated for five Oscars and has won twice for Birdman and Gravity.

The title

Just in case you didn’t know, a revenant is a person who returns. 

The Revenant is in UAE cinemas now.