Movie Review: “The Revenant”

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson
Alejandro González Iñárritu

Say this for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: he does not make things easy for the audience. He staged the full length of “Birdman” to look like one long, glorious take, and challenged the audience to decipher which bits were fantasy and which were reality. “Babel” put us face-to-face with a sexually confused and oft-naked Japanese teenaged girl. “21 Grams” forced the world to imagine receiving the news that your entire family has been killed in a car accident, and then discovering that your new lover has your deceased husband’s heart inside of him. With “The Revenant,” he ups the squirm factor tenfold, but is careful to balance the film’s savagery – and make no mistake, this is one savage movie – with the most beautiful cinematography you’ll see all year. “Wow, that was one of the bloodiest things I’ve ever…ooh look, pretty mountains!” They’re palate cleansers, so you’re not tasting blood in your mouth for the entire film. Smart, and essential.

It is the 1820s, and a group of New World settlers and hired-gun Englishmen are on a fur-trapping expedition in God’s country. The group is besieged by a Native American tribe hell-bent on retrieving a young woman taken from them by one of the light-skinned invaders. (At this point in time, it was either the English or the French.) Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson) looks to master tracker Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) to lead the way, but there is doubt among the surviving group, chief among them professional soldier John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), whether Glass can be trusted after miraculously escaping an impossible situation unscathed. Hugh also has a teenaged son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), whose late mother is of the Pawnee tribe. That doesn’t sit well with some of the white people.

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