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What You Likely Never Noticed About The Lighting In The Revenant

"The Revenant" is known for many things. It's widely considered one of the best films to come out of 2015, as it frequently made "Best Of" lists of that year. And it's the movie that finally gave Leonardo DiCaprio his well-deserved Oscar.

DiCaprio played Hugh Glass, a frontiersman who seeks vengeance on a member of his hunting team, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who killed his son and left him for dead. As such, he'll have to use his survival skills to find a way back to town and make John pay for what he did. 

The movie practically swept the awards circuit when it first came out. In addition to DiCaprio's Oscar for Best Actor, the film also took home statues for Best Director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Best Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki. They were well-deserved wins all around, especially when considering the extreme lengths the team went to in order to immerse the audience into the world of the film.

The Revenant used natural lighting for all but one scene

It's incredible the amount of craftsmanship and ingenuity that goes into filmmaking. Behind the scenes, people work tirelessly to create sets or light an environment a certain way. It can make or break a project, and it was all the more critical when it came to "The Revenant." 

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki won the Oscar for a good reason, seeing how he mostly used natural lighting for the movie. In an interview with Variety, Lubezki stated, "The idea of using natural light came because we wanted the audience to feel, I hope, that this stuff is really happening." It proved to be a worthwhile venture as the film indeed attained a more naturalistic aesthetic. However, natural lighting can only get you so far. There was one scene in which artificial lights had to be used.

There's a scene where Hugh Glass has built a campfire, which would've ordinarily been used to light the scene, but the wind blew in such a way that the fire pulsed distractingly. Lubezki went on to say, "We had to lay a bunch of light bulbs around the fire to create a cushion of light." It's unlikely most people would've noticed otherwise, and it just goes to show how skilled Lubezki is at his craft.