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Album Review: The Revenant [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Great, Based on 5 Critics
Under The Radar - 80 Based on rating 8/10
The films of Alejandro González Iñárritu have been scored with keen awareness of the agency of sound design, to intensify atmosphere and to emphasize the physical experience of character. Given this philosophy, the presence of a film's music can give it a role as integral as any other, an argument never more convincing than in The Revenant. .
Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has jumped out of the fire only to land in the frying pan. Sakamoto was forced to scale back on various projects after being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014. A little over a year’s worth of treatments, he stated that he felt healthy enough to get back to work. One medium in which Sakamoto has enjoyed a certain amount of exposure is the film score, and he made a rather daunting choice by agreeing to score Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant so soon after his recovery.
Much has been made about The Revenant's lengthy shooting process and extreme on-set conditions, but Leonardo DiCaprio isn't the only one who suffered along the way; renowned pianist and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto reportedly battled throat cancer while completing the score for the film with long-time co-writer Alva Noto.The Revenant OST is the duo's fifth collaboration and moves like a symphonic version of their minimalist album Vrioon. To an already austere approach, Sakamoto seems to have added the resolve of a true survivor. The soundtrack's main theme is a foreboding sequence of intermittent, simple and sombre string arrangements that masterfully foreshadow the film's tragic story of an American fur trapper left for dead.
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.
In his review of The Revenant, Editor-in-Chief Michael Roffman keenly pointed out the prismatic depth of the year’s fifth best film: “The Revenant is a Western, it’s a survival tale, it’s a drama, it’s a historical epic, it’s an existential portrait. It could even be argued as a black comedy.” The bleakly beautiful, haunting film may slice cold like a blade of white light, but when it hits you, you can pick out the myriad and diverse themes and motifs. This quality runs intrinsically through the film’s soundtrack, as well, the team of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto, and Bryce Dessner combining for a chilling, powerful listening experience.