The Cinemacon footage for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s in-production film The Revenant may be the culmination of his entire career. The opening shot of the clip package had onscreen text explaining that while The Revenant is the story of a man’s survival and revenge in harsh conditions, it’s truly about the man’s journey within himself as he struggles.
Yes, the theme of the movie appeared in text at the beginning of the presentation.
Based on an excellent Western novel, The Revenant sees Leonardo DiCaprio left for dead by a treacherous Tom Hardy in the wilds of America. Clinging to life, DiCaprio must make his way across the forest and tundra to find the man who left him behind and extract his bloody vengeance. It’s a good book and a GREAT concept.
Will it be a great movie? It’ll certainly look great. The crowd at Cinemacon was treated to what was described as ‘raw’ footage shot by DP Emmanuel Lubezki that was shot in only natural lighting. The compositions are flawless, the landscape shots breathtaking and the lighting - natural! All natural! - moody and exciting. There’s a shot of a man sitting on a horse on a cliffside, silhouetted against the sky, that was breathtaking.
We saw some action footage, with DiCaprio battling what appeared to be Indians. There’s fierce fighting, hand-to-hand and pistol, and the camera is right in there in the action, actually seeming to duck at one point when DiCaprio swings his arm. It’s thrilling stuff, made all the more immediate by the fact that it all looks so real. This is the polar opposite of the phoniness of Birdman; the footage looks almost documentary at times.
There was no dialogue, and very little by way of sound effects. The whole presentation was visually oriented, and when your visuals are this good, why not? Looking at the footage shown it’s pretty clear that Lubezki is going to get nominated for another Oscar this year, and the natural lighting aspect of it could truly push him over the top for yet another win.