With “The Revenant,” Alejandro González Iñárritu pulls off a wonderful vision with amazing cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, posing the wilderness of South Dakota as something of an omnipresent force that works against every single character from the moment we step on to the snow covered woodlands. “The Revenant” works around a simple tale of revenge and enduring the elements all to convey the sheer unforgiving world that protagonist Hugh Glass has to venture across simply to avenge his own son. The weather and terrain holds no prisoners and garners zero bias, enduring the war of man and being covered in the blood of the violated while offering as much punishment as it’s dealt. Director Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” is a grueling epic that views what lengths main character Hugh Glass is willing to go through to ensure justice is served.
All the while he and others unwittingly witness the gradual extermination of another race, as they are forced to deal with rotten and corrupt foreigners and have absolutely no voice to combat their practices. For a long time during his trek through the snow and woods, Hugh is also left without a voice, given an insight in to the plight of the Native Americans. When his son Hawk, a half breed Native American boy is murdered before his eyes by rival John Fitzgerald, Hawk is left to rot in the trees, with Hugh helpless and mangled from his battle. Hugh overcomes vicious injuries from a horrific bear attack, and has to conquer any and all physical limitations to confront the wicked John Fitzgerald, who makes his way back to the settlement and is more than willing to live with his crimes. Iñárritu’s epic garners a slew of mesmerizing performances from folks like William Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson.
As well there’s the pair of the haunting Tom Hardy and the very raw Leonardo DiCaprio, both of whom are at their absolute best. Both characters work on separate levels of lunacy and spite and embrace their savage instincts and moral tones of gray. Though “The Revenant” is a much more dramatized version of the events that occurred with Hugh Glass, director Iñárritu stages some amazing events that raise the stakes for literally everyone as the narrative unfolds. The sheer flawless sequence of Hugh Glass being hopelessly mauled by a vicious bear and fighting for his life to no avail is a masterwork of computer effects and awe inspiring editing. Hugh is somewhat punished for overstepping his bounds in the woods in an attempt to bring down a cub, and he watches helplessly as he’s left at the mercy of a group of men fighting their way home and coming up with more and more reasons to leave him for death.
Almost subconsciously, the American characters are punished by the elements dominated by local Native Americans, and Hugh slowly realizes that the snow and frost of the land is just as deadly as local tribes and wildlife. Director Iñárritu keeps Hugh’s journey rigorous and absolutely torturous, featuring the character resorting to primitive methods to keep alive including hiding in a fresh animal carcass and submitting himself to a freezing river rapid to escape aggressive locals. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s cinematic trek in to the wilderness of 1823 is a riveting and absolutely hypnotic revenge drama that fires from all pistons as a visceral cinematic experience.