The Revenant – 4 golden globe nominations

In Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s new film The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio plays frontiersman Hugh Glass as he, his son, and his hunting team raid Native American land in 1832.

After DiCaprio is unexpectedly mauled by a bear, the crew buries him, murders his son, and abandons their bodies, continuing the journey unaware that DiCaprio escaped the grave to seek revenge.

Calling The Revenant “intense” doesn’t begin to do it justice; among other things, it’s a meditation on the unholy perseverance of the human soul. Yet its soundtrack—co-created by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, German electronic musician Alva Noto, and multi-instrumentalist Bryce Dessner of The National—wisely opts to complement that savagery rather than illustrate it.

Iñárritu’s Birdman, the 2015 Academy Awards’ Best Picture winner, stuttered its way through an unconventional drum score by Antonio Sánchez. Here, things get even more minimalist.

The Revenant trades in sixteenth notes on hi-hats for minute-long fermatas, or held notes, on cellos. Throughout all 23 tracks, the score straddles the line between weariness and wonder, like someone constantly recalling the danger this stunning planet is capable of unleashing.

Under conductor André de Ridder, Berlin-based orchestra s t a r g a z e plays expansively and with great care, its 25 players sporting a serious side compared to their work with artists like Deerhoof and Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry.

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