Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Movie Review: The Revenant

The Revenant is a simple story about a man and his son who hunt animals for pelts.  The story takes place in the 1800s.  Hawk (Leonardo DiCaprio) flashes back to when his wife was murdered by the U.S. army.  His son was only a baby and is all that he has left in the world.  While animal hunting, a tribe of Indians ambush Hawk and his band of men with the intention of stealing the pelts.  More than half of the men are killed.  Hawk and a few others barely get away.  While they are in the rugged mountains struggling to get back to their base, Hawk gets mauled by a bear.  He is immobile.  His so-called friends are stuck hauling him around on a cot through the mountains, through the freezing temperatures, and through the icy rapids.  One of the men, Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), is sick of the extra baggage and wants Hawk dead.  The captain of the hunting party along with Hawk's Indian son will not even entertain the idea.  When Fitzgerald is left alone with Hawk, he tries to kill  him as he lay helpless.  Hawk's son intervenes, but gets killed by Fitzgerald who officially becomes the villain of the story.  He hides the dead boy from the rest of the survivors and then lies, claiming they are on the verge of an attack.  They leave Hawk in a pre-dug grave.  Despite the odds, Hawk survives.  He also survives an Indian attack, a blizzard, starvation, frostbite, and much more.  He's on a mission to get revenge against Fitzgerald who killed his son.  

My Review: Some movies need to be seen on the big screen and this is one of them.  The setting is almost like a character in itself-mountains, snow, ice, rapids, forests, and wild animals.  I wonder how difficult this must have been to film.  DiCaprio who just won the Golden Globe should be a shoe-in for the Oscar.  He brilliantly portrays a man who is determined to survive, if only for the sake of revenge.  He looks cold, scared, determined, and in pain during most of the movie.
I wasn't sure what the word 'revenant' meant, so I looked it up-a person who returns from the dead.  It's the perfect title.  But Hawk doesn't only return from the dead, he also sees the dead.  He sees his dead son at a dilapidated church.  He sees his dead wife a few times, once floating over him.  Besides survival, there is a theme of the afterlife and spirituality.
The movie constantly moves with action over dialogue.  Tom Hardy also pulls off a top-notch performance as the self-serving hunter.  He, like the entire cast, has little to say but speaks volumes in facial expressions.
I loved this movie and recommend it to anyone.  I'm still not sure about the ending-did he live or die? He sees his dead wife and follows her up the mountain.  
DiCaprio almost always makes a great movie, but this one is in a class all by itself.  It's actually based on Hugh Glass, a fur trapper.  Go treat yourself!  It's worth the 9-10 dollar ticket price!
5/5 Stars

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