Take a Drink: for every new injury Glass sustains.
Do a Shot: for each dream sequence.
Take a Drink: every time Glass mentions his son.
By: Hawk Ripjaw (A Toast) –
My love for revenge films comes dangerously close to treading into “clinically noteworthy,” so any film that involves a wronged man getting his well-deserved frontier justice is instant Hawk crack. Such is part of the story of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), the real-life 19th century Wyoming trapper who kills himself a shitload of natives along with the rest of his crew, Captain Henry (Domnhall Gleeson), Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), his consistent antagonist, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), and his beloved son Hawk (oh hai Forrest Goodluck).
Venturing out alone, Glass is mauled by an angry mother grizzly (not raped, and you’re a fucking moron if you believed that for a second). As the one among his group that knows the territory, the crew attempts to carry his wounded ass up the mountain, but like anyone who’s ever tried to carry a mortally wounded man in a stretcher up a mountain (or really even just considered doing so), they can’t make it with him. Captain Henry instructs Fitzgerald and Bridger to stay behind with Glass, keep him comfortable until he passes away, and give him a proper burial. Fitzgerald, who grows impatient and kind of hates Glass, attempts to kill him, and in the process murders Hawk and leaves Glass for dead, dragging the reluctant Bridger away.
Glass wakes up, still wounded, half-buried in a shallow grave, his shit stolen by Fitzgerald, and his dead son lying a few yards away.
Glass does not play that shit.
Filmed entirely using natural light in Canada and Argentina, The Revenant is a film of jaw-dropping beauty. Lush nature shots border on eliciting a genuine emotional response- literally, a sweeping shot of a river, mountain, and trees almost brought tears to my eyes– and seeing this on the biggest screen you can find will be richly rewarding. Inarritu once again exercises his penchant for the long take; while it doesn’t go to the lengths of Birdman, there are still plenty of how-did-they-do-that instances of long, fluid shots that last for several minutes, with one of the most impressive being a stunning early battle sequence on the beach between the crew of trappers and a tribe of natives.
Far be it from me to ever want to jump on the bandwagon, but Leonardo DiCaprio really does nail it here. So much of his performance relies on nonverbal cues, and the intensity that flares from DiCaprio’s eyes is nothing short of incendiary. Likewise, Tom Hardy, who has had multiple roles hinging on the actor’s intensity as a nonverbal performer, notches another great performance on his belt as the frightening psychopath Fitzgerald. There’s a level of crazy coming from Hardy that makes him impossible to look away from. Both performances are award-worthy.
This is less of a straightforward revenge movie than it is chiefly a survival film. In fact, revenge doesn’t even really factor into the movie until the final act. Until then, it’s Glass doing everything he can to survive, from snapping into an animal skeleton to eat the bone marrow for his first post-“death” meal, to crawling inside an animal carcass to stay warm during a snowstorm, to eating a fucking raw bison liver and apparently DiCaprio totally did that.
But damn it does the movie culminate in a spectacular orgasm of violence in that final act as Fitzgerald realizes how boned he is, runs like hell, and Glass rises like a phoenix from being the desperate survivor to a force of nature and tracks his rival to the final showdown. And while the rest of the movie is violent enough, this final confrontation is just a cap on the movie’s excellent use of practical gore effects.
Like Birdman, The Revenant is a remarkable technical achievement. Inarritu, in another collaboration with the deeply gifted DP Emmanuel Lubezki, has delivered another cinematic powerhouse. This is raw, intense filmmaking.