Revenant : A Person Who Has Returned, Especially Supposedly from The Dead

The Revenant (2015)

Director – Alejandro G. Iñarritu

Writers – Alejandro G. Iñarritu (Based on the novel The Revenant by Micahel Punke)

Starring – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domnhall Gleeson

Rating – R (Language, Violence)

Genre – Action, Drama, Adventure

Metascore – 77/10

Rotten Tomatoes – 81%

The night before we saw The Revenant my (Blake) wife and I happened upon a behind the scenes short for The Revenant starring the cast and the director discussing the creative process for the film. My wife asked, “What’s important about this, why’s it drawing so many people in?” My response was as follows:

Partially it’s about the revenge. This man’s child is murdered in front of him while he helplessly watches and he’s left for dead by the men he trusted; part of the payout is men who deserve their comeuppance receiving it tenfold. But what draws me to this story in particular is something the Joker said to Batman, “You are what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.” Hugh Glass is forced to be an immovable object; the subject of fireside legend pitted against the unstoppable nature of man and nature itself. That’s what lassos me unyieldingly into this story of survival, sustained by the embers of revenge.


This film delivers more beauty than I’ve ever seen on a screen before illuminated by use of natural light only for the entirety. Iñarritu continues to amaze the senses with the help of Lubezki (Gravity, Birdman) behind the camera. The American frontier comes to life and the chill of nature resonates to your core. Lubezki stamps the film with his numerous unforgettable tracking shots.

The characters are not deeply developed, however the film’s core is not character development rather it’s painting the portrait of a legendary man who becomes a deeply-rooted tree against the ravishing wind of nature’s brutality. The experience witnessed is something that begs to transcend character; it emphatically highlights the carnality of instinct. Hugh Glass after surviving a bear attack, ceases to be a man, he becomes an animal; clawing, on all fours, out of his shallow grave and draped in the skin of the bear that put them there. Acting on instinct, Glass limps and eventually runs headlong into nature in the same way a beast would towards a threat to its cubs.

DiCaprio has minimal dialogue and most of what he issues are guttural cries of anger and anguish. The performance that Leo gives is easily one of his best and is well deserving of awards. Tom Hardy (Mad Max, Inception), to his credit, paints us a glorious portrait of a man also struggling to survive, though, no matter the cost to others. The script does well to not demonize him more than is evident. The biggest screenplay issues is the native pursuit of the fur trappers who they believe stole the chief’s daughter. They are used as a liminal plot device to force Glass and other characters to move.

The Revenant’s true magic is the melding of on-site filming and gloriously displayed landscape shots coupled with the masterful Ryuichi Sakamoto scoring the tale. The haunting scope of the soundtrack gives this movie the texture needed to make it a masterpiece.

TLDR – The Revenant sprawls over mountains and valleys in ways i had never seen before to show the brutality of nature lives within man.  It tells the legend of Hugh Glass in spectacularly lonely fashion lacking in only small elements in terms of screenplay.

the499 Rating – 9.5 / 10

Authors : Blake Burrough, Jesse Ingram

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