The Revenant

The fellow in front of me at the cinema asked the clerk for a ticket to the "mountain man movie." I'm not sure if Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant delivered the kind of story that patron was expecting but it IS a tale of a primordial survivalist, who rises from a snowy grave to seek revenge with nothing but his will and a knife. Leonardo DiCaprio is such a fine actor that little needs to be said about the quality of his performance. He is riveting as tracker and guide Hugh Glass, who is attached to a fur trade operation in the western frontier. Bands of Arikaree Indians rout white settlements in answer for the pillaging done during the westward expansion. DiCaprio's Hugh Glass, who had met and fathered a son with an Indian woman, survived such pillaging with only their son, whom he is devoted to. During one of the film's most harrowing scenes, Glass is nearly gutted by a mama bear while scouting. He is left in the care of his rival, an angry and murderous trapper from Texas named Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who quickly grows impatient with the badly wounded Glass and tries to help him shuffle off his mortal coil. Glass's son tries to stop him and is murdered for his trouble in front of his father. The horribly mauled Glass is left for dead in a shallow grave, and Fitzgerald and a conscientious but outmatched young trapper named Bridgers (Will Poulter) head back to the fort through some of the most beautiful and treacherous terrain imaginable. A combination of willfulness and beneficence from the Great Spirit moves Glass to drag himself out of the tomb and onto the trail to find Fitzgerald and avenge his son ... and himself. The film is a cinematic feast, astounding and overwhelming (as is much of Inarritu's work), but it is unmercifully bleak and bloody. Highly recommended.


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