Revere or run from “The Revenant”? Either way, it’s Leo’s year



Morgan Lamb

Confused, abandoned, wary of his surroundings and in serious need of medical assistance. No, this is not a freshman the morning after his first ticket party, but a feeble synopsis of Leonardo DiCaprio’s standout role in “The Revenant.” With the film raking in 12 Oscar nominations (one for each of my replacement Wildcards), the truly anticipated category falls on Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor – the 41-year-old’s fifth nomination in the category. 

Due to relentless memes flooding the Internet and Instagram, you likely already know that the actor has shot four-for-four in falling short of Oscar gold. However, “The Revenant” has critics buzzing, and loudly at that. This will be DiCaprio’s year. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the film, defining the title quite easily captures the plot, which is based on true events. A “revenant” is “one that returns after death or long absence.” DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, a 19th-century mountain man who is left to die by his hunting crew after barely surviving a gruesome bear attack. Yeah, and we all thought missing the shuttle was rough.

While I truly believe that this role is DiCaprio’s first-class ticket to securing an Oscar, I also believe that at least half of you will blatantly hate this movie. These dichotomous positions transpire from the same exact reasons. DiCaprio quintessentially embodies the horrific endurances of the main character which single-handedly pushes “The Revenant” past the categorization of a mere movie and throws it at the audience as a forceful experience. This experience is not for everyone. 

In the hypothetical occurrence that my roommates and I found the film online and watched it snowed in at our apartment this past weekend, junior Melissa Birle potentially would have uttered “Leo, I’ll give you an Oscar if I get to turn it off.” I potentially would have been eternally grateful that streaming the film this way gave it terrible quality. My entire tuition could be on the line, and I am still not confident that I could make it past the opening battle scene on a high-def theater screen. 

My terror proves the exceptional acting done by Leo. The film has the ability to move people. In my case, that effect left me covering my eyes every time someone got shot in the face with an arrow (spoiler alert: there’s a lot, and that’s probably the most PG event of the movie I can describe). But still, the realistic portrayal of the movie’s horrendous gore and ventures lies in the true merit of DiCaprio’s acting orchestrated under the direction of Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The physical acting by DiCaprio for this movie is unearthly. I find difficulty in labeling his performance as acting. Many parts of the film requied DiCaprio to do more than the average actor including throwing up on himself from eating raw Bison liver and real fish (did you know DiCaprio is a vegetarian?), wrestling with hypothermia and sleeping in a dead animal carcass. Physical conditions were brutal, but stress for time was high as well. The entire film shot strictly in natural light, adding a burden on limited work hours but a distinguished beauty on-screen. 

I love this movie and thank DiCaprio and Iñárritu for their creation. (On the contrary, I will probably never watch it again, and I definitely want an “I Survived” T-shirt.)

It is barbarically beautiful and vulnerably rugged. It captures effortlessly the essence of conditional fortitude and makes you question what it means to be human. DiCaprio in “The Revenant” is the paragon of art. You don’t watch this movie, you get through it. The Revenant is heavy, it is difficult and while it may not be for everyone, it certainly is Oscar worthy. At the very least, let this movie serve as a fervent reminder that if Hugh Glass can survive a grizzly bear attack after being left alone to die, we can certainly all make it to our 8:30s in Tolentine.


The  Oscars will air on 

February 28,2016 at 7e on ABC