“The Revenant:” Survival 101 in the Ice-cold Wilderness


Posted Sun, Jan 10, 2016

A frontiersman named Hugh Glass on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s is on a quest for survival after being brutally mauled by a bear.

Frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) fights for survival after being brutally mauled by a bear.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant is a film loosely based on a true story of frontiersman, Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo Dicaprio). This is the second movie based on Glass’s wilderness adventures. The first was Man in the Wilderness (’71).

During the winter of 1823 while on a fur trapping expedition, Glass is left for dead in the wilderness by his own party after being mauled by a grizzly bear. He regains consciousness in the middle of vast no man’s land to discover that his former hunting partner John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) has taken all of his weapons, equipment and supplies, leaving Glass completely empty-handed with nothing more than his experience as a scout and fur trapper to survive.

To make matters worse, Glass helplessly witnesses the murder of his half Pawnee son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), which spirals him into a world of chilling survivalism and cold retribution. Dicaprio gives a well-deserved performance, Domhnall Gleeson is believable as Captain Andrew Henry, the leader of the expedition, and Tom Hardy gives a spectacular performance as John Fitzgerald.

Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) with his wife (played by Grace Dove) who is Pawnee, a Midwestern Native American tribe

Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his wife (Grace Dove) who is Pawnee spend a quiet moment together.

The Revenant leaves the audience on the edge of their seats, struggling through every painstaking moment as Glass attempts to survive the harsh winter snowstorm of Montana and South Dakota mountains. Although the film contains very little dialogue, it makes up for it with breathtaking cinematography that was filmed in 12 different scenic locations across Canada, United States and Argentina, creating immense icy wilderness untouched by the modern world through the centuries.

Although the story does seem to drag on at certain points, it succeeds in creating a dark, somber mood that results in a cold, haunting effect. The story is laced with Native American spiritual undertones, which promote a sense of courage, discovery of one’s inner warrior and overcoming the worst odds. In short, it is about not giving up until the last cold breath leaves your body.

Grade: B+

About Kavann Tok

Kavann Tok is a freelance Denver-area journalist. Website: https://issuu.com/kavanntok

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