Monday, February 29, 2016
America, 19th century. Hugh Glass is a guide of an expedition of some 40 trappers who hunt for fur in the forest. They are attacked by Indians and have to flee along the river, losing over half of the men in the process. When Glass is attacked and crippled by a bear, the crew decides to move on and leave him behind, leaving Fitzgerland, Jim and Glass' son Hawk to watch over his stretcher. Fitzgerald kills Hawk and persuades Jim to leave Glass alone in the forest, figuring he will die anyway from his wounds. However, Glass recovers and makes a 200 mile walk to the fort. Upon realizing he was left to die, his associate Henry decides to hunt for Firtzgerald. In a duel, Glass wounds Fitzgerland and throws him into the river.
After a surprising comic turn with "Birdman", director Alejandro G. Inarritu expressly assembled his next film the following year, "The Revenent", in which he returned to his depressive-bleak worldview. It is a well-crafted film, with great camera work, but lacks real ingenuity or imagination, since it is basically just another banal revenge story in its essence, in this case presented as a survival drama in wilderness, that appeals too much to the most primitive urges and instincts than to some more sophisticated stylistic means. It has a whole array of dark, dismal, even vile moments (a man shoots a horse; Glass has to resort to eating leftovers of bones of a skeleton or raw meat from a buffalo to survive; Glass removes the intestine of a dead horse in order to enter its body naked to warm up during the cold, freezing night...), but except for the impressive 7-minute bear attack sequence or the scene where Glass runs with a horse over the cliff, the style does not outweigh their primitivism or depraved nature. Also, at 2.5 hours, its running time is way overstretched. Leonardo DiCaprio puts a lot of effort into the role of Glass, and gives a powerful performance, though the role is trapped by its too brute, dismal urges. Overall, "The Revenent" is a good film, but it is more dispiriting than inspired, since the quality of a film was never measured just by how much depressive it can get, but just by how much sophistication it can conjure up.