Coming off his Academy Award wins for Best Director and Best Picture for “Birdman,” the sky’s the limit for celebrated director Alejandro González Iñárritu. In “Birdman,” his cinematic conceit was one long tracking shot throughout the movie—a visual trick, but the movie did stich together perhaps only a dozen or so shots, each around 15-20 minutes long. For his next trick, Iñárritu steers his Academy cache towards “The Revenant,” a revenge drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio that he had been developing for several years. His clout has earned him the right to make the film his way: shooting in chronological order—abnormal for 90% of filmmakers— and shooting entirely in all natural light, in the wintery wilds of Canada and its freezing, sub-zero temperatures.
Given the continuity and weather demands—if you’re shooting au natural and in order it’s extremely difficult to make the environment match—“The Revenant” has been filming for more than six months. The long, contradicting schedule is the reason Tom Hardy had to drop out of “Suicide Squad.”
The film is about a bear trapper left for dead by his friends in the early 1900s who seeks murderous revenge. It’s also a survival narrative, and a dark exploration of the obsessive and relentless male psyche. Here’s the official synopsis:
Deep in the unchartered American wilderness, hunter Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is severely injured and left for dead by a traitorous member of his team, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). With sheer will as his only weapon, Glass must navigate a hostile environment, a brutal winter and warring tribes in a relentless quest to survive and exact vengeance on Fitzgerald. Inspired by a true story, THE REVENANT is directed and co-written by renowned filmmaker and Academy Award-winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, Babel).
The movie co-stars Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”), Lukas Haas (“Inception”), and Domhnall Gleeson (“Ex-Machina,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”). 20th Century Fox is releasing the movie on Christmas Day and has high hopes for the picture, both commercially and Awards-wise. Watch the first trailer below and let us know what you think.