Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Revenant


This movie is different. For one thing, you really don’t see too many Westerns anymore. Secondly, it was a very satisfying, suspenseful tale of unfulfilled revenge and honor. There was plenty of action, blood, and history  to keep you on the edge of your seat.

What does revenant mean? I had never heard this word before. A revenant is a person who has returned from the dead for revenge.

The Revenant movie was inspired by the adventures of Hugh Glass. Hugh Glass was a fur trapper/mountain man from the 1820s. It seems to be true that he was attacked by a bear, left for dead, and recovered enough to return to civilization to serve revenge to the men who had both deserted him and killed his son.

The Revenant is set in 1823 in Montana and South Dakota during the Louisiana Purchase. Hugh Glass  guides an expedition of fur trappers to the frontier to gather  beaver pelts to sell to the French. They are in direct competition with the native Americans who hate all white men but like the guns and horses they can get from trading with the French. The natives attack the trappers to steal the pelts. A small group of the trappers escape on a boat down the Missouri River. They decide to abandon the boat to avoid capture.  While camping, one of the men, Hugh Glass, is brutally attacked by a bear. The rest of the group rescues him and tries to heal him while transporting him on a travois back to the fort.  Glass seems to be on the verge of death and is slowing the hunting party down so they leave him behind with 2 men and his son with the idea that they will bury him if he dies or bring him back if he recovers. One of the men, John Fitzgerald,  wants to leave him, and tries to strangle him but is interrupted by Glass’ son. He stabs the son as Glass watches and is too helpless to intervene. Glass is thrown into a grave and partially buried. Fitzgerald convinces the third man, Jim Bridger, that Glass is dead and the son wants to stay with him and that they should leave before the indians return. The next day, Hugh Glass crawls out of his grave and painstakingly begins his journey for revenge.

It was a long movie – 2 hours and 36 minutes and I liked it. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy were dirty and disheveled and very manly. It was suspenseful and interesting to watch DiCaprio overcome incredible obstacles just to survive while maintaining his code of ethics. Revenge is a powerful motivator. The best part of the movie was the scenery which was just beautiful. The stark, lonely, snowy mountains and forest and freezing rivers were breathtaking. It was the old west where men survived by their wits, strengths, and convictions.

 

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