‘The Revenant’ delivers

John Everman, Staff Writer

Review: Immersing the viewer in the life of a frontiersman in the harsh woods of 1823 South Dakota, The Revenant is a momentous, bloody, and emotionally charged survival drama.

While depicting a tale of human endurance and desire for revenge, offering a glimpse at our ancestor’s violent past and serving as a reminder to respect indigenous cultures and nature, one can’t help but walk out of the theater having been tremendously impressed and altered by the experience.

Helmed by innovative Oscar winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, 2015), it is based on the accounts of a real-life fur trapper, hunter, and frontiersman named Hugh Glass, portrayed in the film brilliantly by Leonardo DiCaprio. Glass famously survived being viciously mauled by a grizzly bear, abandonment by his own hunting party, and a nearly 300-mile journey back to the nearest fort across forests and rivers while dodging encounters with unfriendly indigenous tribes and wild animals. This all in hopes of seeking justice from those who betrayed him.

Featuring the second collaboration between actors DiCaprio and Tom Hardy (Inception, 2010) as the respective protagonist and antagonist, the dedication to each role from the main characters to smaller roles is what drives the intense realism of the film home.

Shooting conditions were reportedly so demanding, DiCaprio consumed raw animal carcass just for the purposes of filming, among other shocking requests too stomach churning to warrant mention here. This is according to an interview he gave to Variety magazine for the December 15, 2015 issue.

Aside from the commitment by the cast, the crew deserves equal recognition. The cinematography shows a snow covered, often sub-zero frozen plain with mountains, tall forests and mighty rivers – a beautiful ode to the uncharted wilderness which existed in this country not that long ago and still does in some parts. Quick shots of frozen fruits hanging from trees, the running water of a stream, or displays of animal behavior take the viewer right out of their seat and into the wild, along for the ride.

Do yourself a favor and go see this movie in the biggest theater with the best sound available now. It is one of the most real movie experiences you’ll ever have the chance to see.

The story of Hugh Glass, embellished American tall tale or an astonishing truthful account of survival, is given new life with this intense, pulse pounding portrayal of events. At about a two-and-a-half-hour runtime, The Revenant is equally mesmerizing and entertaining as it is sobering and brutal.