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By Megan Bianco
Despite his three Golden Globe wins, one of which was last Sunday, Leonardo DiCaprio has never won an Academy Award in his two decades of stardom. There have been jokes, memes, fan and media support over the years, but it looks like this year is shaping up to be Leo’s biggest chance at winning since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). The film he won the Globe for is Alejando G. Iñárritu’s follow-up to 2014’s Birdman, the frontier drama The Revenant.
In winter 1823, groups of white hunters/trappers and Indian tribes are out to kill each other at any moment in the Louisiana Purchase. While one group of trappers are hunting for pelts, a bear attacks Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) leaving him barely alive. Group leader Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) assigns boorish co-hunter John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and youthful Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) to make sure Glass stays alive. But Fitzgerald doesn’t like that Glass’ son is a “half-breed” and thinks killing off Glass would work to his advantage.
In addition to DiCaprio’s performance, The Revenant has been getting praise for its use of cinematography and natural lighting. The atmosphere of the film is definitely the most interesting part of it, and Iñárritu does choose some captivating direction techniques. But the slow pacing, along with very graphic gore, becomes such a turnoff after the opening sequence that you can really feel the 156-minute runtime. Although he has much better films on his résumé, DiCaprio gives The Revenant’s brutal content his all, likely to earn him Best Actor honors next month.