The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu – 2015) A

This is a tremendous movie and quiet an achievement. It’s not a fun or entertaining experience but it is like nothing I’ve seen before. The story is set in the early 19th century pre-American wilderness of the Dakotas. It is cold, wild, full of misery and death. When fur trapper Hugh Glass is left for dead after a bear mauling he tries to survive and make it back to exact revenge on those who betrayed him and left him. It’s not a revenge story but that of survival in the very harsh environment where the elements, animals and humans are trying to kill you. It is a rough and harsh movie with a backdrop of awesome beauty.

Leonardo Di Caprio delivers and exceptional performance as Glass in an obviously difficult role. The way the movie is shot and framed is beautiful and terrifying. Iñárritu loves his closeups and low camera placement. He makes us live every moment with Glass as if we are there. We feel the cold, the pain, the hunger and exhaustion as he tries to make his way back. Some scenes here are so good and so effective that they will be difficult to forget, like that bear mauling. The Revenant might not be entertaining but it is a great movie that I am glad exists. After the good Birdman and now this, I am eager to see what Iñárritu is up to next.

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