Thespic brawl elicits immersive portrayals from DiCaprio and Redmayne
Brace yourself for the toughest fight this season. No, we aren’t talking about the mano-a-mano between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley (April 9) or Batman and Superman in Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of Justice”—that match is still more than a month away (it opens in Manila on Black Saturday, March 26).
This February, all eyes are on the thespic brawl between Leonardo DiCaprio of “The Revenant” and Eddie Redmayne of “The Danish Girl” at the Oscars on Feb. 28 (morning of the 29th here).
In terms of intensity, nuance and degree of difficulty, however, it wouldn’t be foolhardy to place your bet on either Leo or Eddie (whose chances are compromised by his best actor triumph at the Oscars last year for his immersive portrayal as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”).
In Tom Hooper’s true-to-life biopic, “The Danish Girl,” Redmayne makes full use of his soft, androgynous features to capture the essence, bravery and pioneering spirit of landscape artist Einar Wegener aka male-to-female transgender Lili Elbe, whose pioneering story in the Roaring ’20s remains an inspiration for today’s LGBT community.
Einar was happily married to portraitist Gerda (Alicia Vikander, as outstanding as she is lovely) before a twist of fate—his wife asked him to stand in for a tardy female model—made him “realize” that he was really a woman trapped in a man’s body!
Einar’s confusion was exacerbated when he crossed paths with Hans Axgil (Matthias Schoenaerts)—the childhood buddy whom he shared a kiss with!
The meeting opened a Pandora’s box of concealed memories that convinced Einar to turn Lili into a full-fledged woman via risky sex reassignment surgery!
Degree of difficulty
In Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s nonfiction actioner, “The Revenant,” the degree of difficulty in DiCaprio’s performance seems more physical than psychological—but, the power of his performance isn’t any less immersive!
Set in the 1820s, the film chronicles the gut-wrenching tale of fur trapper Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), who’s wounded by Native Americans during a pelt-hunting trip, mauled by a grizzly bear—and left for dead by his treacherous colleague, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy)!
Iñárritu delivers a thrilling dramatization of what man is capable of doing when faced with unspeakable grief and imminent death.
DiCaprio demonstrates the enormity of his thespic stamina and range, and sustains his wordless gravitas as he juggles the film’s uncompromising harshness and flashes of fleeting kindness.
Leo’s performance is made flashier by the director’s visual bravado.
It’s easy to understand why he must track down the main source of his woes. His thespic clarity, focus and cohesiveness are his ticket to his first, much-delayed Oscar.
On the other hand, Redmayne has the difficult task of vivifying Lili’s intention to “go against the flow.”
You won’t always agree with his/her troubling decisions, but the actor’s soulful orbs and nuanced characterization will make you understand why some of the hardest decisions are also the best ones to make!