The Revenant, the newest film by Alejandro G. Inarritu, may be his most daring and painstaking film yet. This is seemingly impossible, considering he is just coming off of the release of "Birdman", which won "Best Picture" at The Oscars just last year. In Birdman, Alejandro made shooting this film extremely difficult to compliment the visual style he wanted to achieve. His style is very comparable to Terrence Malick's, which is to place the camera on a steady cam at one focal length for a long period of time. The twist though, for Inarritu, comes when he cuts the footage. He masks them. He does this by utilizing visual effects to stitch multiple shots to seem like one cohesive one. The result is extremely impressive, and Birdman is proof of exactly that. The entire movie seems to be filmed in one single take, a style that is extremely beautiful to watch when perfected.
The downsides though, are plentiful. These extremely long tracking shots are extremely hard on the crew members as well as the actors, often pushing both to their limits. For a Cinematographer, this is very hard to pull off, since there are very few places you can hide lights that will be sufficient enough to light the scene in the extremely wide frame that Alejandro prefers. This is also tough on an actor, because at times, they must memorize up to 10 or 15 pages of dialogue to shoot a scene, often placing an immense amount of pressure on them, because even one mistake can lead to having to re do the entire take over again.
In The Revenant, Alejandro demands more of his actors and crew members. He plans on shooting the entire film in extreme, cold weather on location. He refuses to use a sound stage for any of his movies to provide the best possible realism for his films. Although at a great cost, I agree with Alejandro's decision. With more and more of Hollywood moving on to filming movies in studio lots instead of actually going on location, it is nice to see a director who desires a certain realism that cannot be attained on a mere sound stage.
Another odd and peculiar thing that Alejandro does, is he insists on shooting his movies in chronological order. He states "That’s the only way I understand the story and the characters, and that’s the way I leave the story room to grow and understand it". Although shooting his movies in chronological order can prove costly for the studios, I do not think it is such a bad thing. Inarritu clearly has an eye for crafting good films, and the studios should let him be. The Revenant is definitely worth it, and I cannot wait to see it in theaters.