The Revenant (2015) Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
The Revenant is Alejandro González Iñárritu’s other major film of the decade, aside from his Oscar-winning Birdman. The film is largely celebrated as the movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio accepted his first Academy Award for Best Actor (Finally? I suppose…)
At any rate, the film is based on the 2002 Michael Punke novel of the same name, which is based on a poem from 1915 (“The Song of Hugh Glass) based on the life of Hugh Glass, a 19th century frontiersman. In the film, Glass leads a group of trappers as they are attacked by Indians and Glass is brutally mauled by a bear and left for dead. However, he survives and makes the long trek back, with plenty of help along the way, until he exacts his vengeance (in the end he fights Fitzgerald, one of the men who left him for dead, but ultimately pushes him downstream to be dealt with by the Indians who scalp him).
I thoroughly enjoyed this film despite its length and graphic and gratuitous violence (scalpings and maulings, broken bones and hallucinations and so on). It follows the contemporary trend among films of being filled with extremely dark plots and extreme violence. It is a truly harrowing tale of survival and revenge on the early frontier where danger lurks around every corner. Glass represents the true self-actualized individual, a rare glimpse of a nobleman, as good as can be found on the front. However, the film is historically inaccurate –in truth Glass had no children, nor love for an Indian woman, and he did not exact a brutal revenge in the end.