Saturday, February 6, 2016

The price of a legend

I must have said this a hundred times by now but this is for the record: Leonardo DiCaprio's finest performance ever has to be in The Revenant (2015). It doesn't matter whether he wins the must-awaited Oscar or not anymore. In fact, his body of work has grown beyond the tenets of the Academy. There are many reasons why i believe so The Revenant is probably the second major film (after Barry Lyndon in 1975) to be shot entirely in natural lights. That's a massive task. That's like Instagrammers deprived of their filters. Or Twitter of its mehfil-e-chutiyapa outlook. Director Alejandro G Iñárritu shot the film mostly in Alberta, Canada. The storyline involves heavy snow and horse and blood and sacrifice. A $135 million project quite literally rested on the shoulders of DiCaprio. Apparently, it's a miracle that the river flows in the film and it's impossible to imagine having anything to do with that kind of coldness. So the makers of this magnum opus had to position themselves in such a manner that they don't lose out on time. In fact, about an hour of shooting everyday. That's it. If you lose the cut today, you basically waste the entire day. In such a scenario, selflessness is a must—no wonder the crew protested against the director by the end of film shoot because of harsh working conditions—and it's understandable how DiCaprio went to the extremes he did for this film. And that's not just being in almost freezing water for a long shot (using a stunt man could have helped but like i said earlier, it'd waste time) or eating raw meat despite being a vegan or facing hypothermia repeatedly. If you watch the film, which you should anyway, you can feel his pain and desperation. There is a scene where his body is being moved and he's coughing profusely. Turns out he was really sick during that time but decided to go to work instead of taking the day off. Because you see, acting, like any other job you love, is about showing up at office and pushing yourself beyond expectations. How Rahul Dravid continued to bat despite having high fever or why Nemanja Vidić never let the blood gushing out of his face disrupt his tempo on the ground. That's the passion one should have for what one does for a living. And i can't think of any other film—and i've seen all of his movies—where DiCaprio has enjoyed the screen time like he did in The Revenant. This film is really long (crossing 2.5 hrs) and entirely about his struggle. It's a no-brainer this performance will undoubtedly go down in history as legendary. He's at his best right now. The only worry is, if he wins an Oscar, will he continue to peak?

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