Men in beard in snowy landscape, survival and revenge. That was my impression when I first saw the trailer of the newest Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film. Before I went to see this movie, I started digging the net about the story. Revenant means person who returns as a ghost after death or the one who comes back. It is derived from French word; revenir which means to come back.
In 1823 Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a frontiersman and fur trapper, participated in General Ashley’s fur-trapping expedition somewhere in South Dakota. When exploring the route Glass is attacked by a grizzly bear on the Missouri river bank. He is severely wounded. So bad that the expedition leader decides two expedition members, John Fitzgerald (John Hardy) and a much younger man, Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) have to stay with Glass until his death to bury him properly. Two days pass by but Glass is still there. Eventually Fitzgerald convinces Bridger to leave Glass because he would die anyway. The two would like to catch up the expedition due to the extreme cold weather.
So Hugh Glass is left behind in the cold, his half Pawnee son has been killed by Fitzgerald. Driven by anger and will to avenge what has been done to him, Glass crawls 200 mile long to reach Fort Kiowa. En route he is chased by the mercilessly Arikara warriors. Glass survives the gruesome trip and arrives safely at Fort Kiowa. And at the end he gets his revenge.
The Revenant is one of the beautiful movies made last year. The acting and the cast are top-notch. Leonardo DiCaprio is so convincing as Hugh Glass. Although he barely says anything after the bear attack due to his character suffering from severe injury, the expression on his face tells how Glass must feel. DiCaprio’s acting is so powerful which shows why he is a Hollywood A-lister. Watching this I feel sorry and pity for Hugh Glass and at the same time I understand why he needs to avenge his son. The pain, rage and will to survive this deplorable situation is so present onscreen.
Two impressive scenes DiCaprio did are the following; when Glass eats a raw bison liver while DiCaprio himself is known as a strict vegetarian and when Glass sleeps in his horse carcass in order to stay warm during the night. The latter reminds me of the adventurer Bear Grylls. I once saw an episode of Grylls’ show where he sleeps in a camel carcass in the dessert. A true survivalist would do this in order to stay alive. An actor doesn’t have to do it but DiCaprio did it.
Other notable performance is from Tom Hardy, portraying the nasty John Fitzgerald. Hardy melt in his role so well. That despicable Fitzgerald who wants to survive and has no heart abandoning Glass. Fitzgerald is portrayed black and white here; as a man you love to hate and Hardy depicts him successfully. There is no overacting in doing this and for that I salute the actor and the director.
Beside the acting and the cast, one well deserved mention of this movie is the cinematography. It is astonishing. The Revenant captures the splendour of the wintry landscapes. The shooting locations spread from Alberta Canada, Montana USA to Tiera del Fuego, Argentina. The director Alejandro González Iñárritu shot the movie only in daylight. This meant the crew had only a couple of hours a day to shoot the scenes in harsh temperature of -25 degree Celsius. The result is amazing. The Revenant takes the viewers to the winter wilderness in American frontier land. As a photography enthousiast, the cinematography of this movie is the feast for my eyes.
The Revenant is based on Michael Punke’s book with the same title. The movie poster says inspired by true events. To those who wonder whether some scenes in the movie did happen, see historyvshollywood.
Finally I am curious how this movie will get acknowledged. Would this be the best movie? Would this bring DiCaprio a best actor title? No matter which awards it gets, this is highly recommended to watch.