The Revenant (2015)
The word revenant means “one that returns after a death or long absence” and that is exactly what happens to Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio). After a group of Indians attacks a group of white men hunting animal pelts, Glass goes on the run and is left for dead when a grizzly bear ravages his body. The leader of the group Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) offers money for any men who stay behind to make sure Glass makes it back to the settlement safely. Glass’s half-Indian son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), an inexperienced young man Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), and a greedy hunter John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) all agree to stay behind. It is obvious that Fitzgerald wants to ditch Glass as soon as possible to get back with the group, but when Hawk interferes with his plans, Fitzgerald kills him and lies to Jim about what happened. Leaving Glass to die, Fitzgerald and Jim make it safely back home, not knowing Glass’s capabilities to survive in order to seek his revenge.
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman, Babel, Biutiful), The Revenant is a beautifully made and acted movie about survival and revenge. In what could be described as Cast Away meets The Count of Monte Cristo, the story here is relatively simple and pretty much its biggest downfall (which isn’t much) because it is so simple. The story can be summed up quite easily yet the run time is over 2.5 hours so you can imagine how much of the movie is used for fights, scenery and survival. Throughout this movie we see several confrontations between the white men and Indians as well as between man and nature which add layers of depth to this movie. If you know me by now, you know that I’m always looking out for the “memorable moments” in movies that set them apart from the rest, and I can honestly say that the bear attack scene is something I’ve never seen before. It is realistic and violence. It is tense and it will make you squirm in your seat. That scene is a cinematic piece of art! In fact, the whole movie is a cinematic piece of art from the winter scenery to the intense battles. The Revenant is a tale of man vs man and man vs nature and it does a good job at showing the will of the human spirit.
The acting in this movie is also something to praise highly. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy should most likely take home the best acting awards. Both these men immerse themselves in their respective roles and never let up. DiCaprio becomes a man beaten who has only 1 thing to live for and that is revenge for the death of his son. Hardy is a greedy bastard who will stop at nothing to take the easy way out. Hardy is practically unrecognizable and so is DiCaprio for that matter. This is one of those rare movies that requires the actors to put themselves through tough situations to succeed and it shines.
I think the only negative I have with this movie is the simple story. There isn’t much to think about and due to the length, it may lose some people along the way, but I highly doubt that. It is overly realistic and violent so be cautious of that aspect. As a medical professional I want to cry foul after the bear attack because any real man would have died after that attack especially without medical treatment, but due to the stunning speculation that follows, I don’t think anyone cares. Although the Revenant looks simple on paper, the execution is excellent. This is a must see in theaters and look for it to be nominated for many awards very soon! Co-starring Grace Dove, Kristoffer Joner, Lukas Haas, and Paul Anderson.
8/10 Stars – Although simple in story, the execution of one mans survival is full of wonderful acting, violent action and stunning visuals.