Leonardo DiCaprio is Stunning Audiences in “The Revenant”

By Katie Velez
Contributing Writer

WARNING: Spoiler alert!

Based on true events, “The Revenant” takes place in the 1820’s during the brutal winter months of the American Northwest.

Hugh Glass and his son Hawk are trapping and trading fur along the Rocky Mountains with a crew of other frontiersmen.

Hugh, who has exceptional knowledge of the mountainous terrain, is the crew’s guide. He knows the deadly risk and unforgiving nature of the wilderness.

In the American Northwest Mountains, temperatures remain below zero, wild animals roam free and Native Americans are at war with the white settlers to take back their land and resources.

After a long day of trapping, Hugh and his crew are ambushed by Native Americans. Left with a bloody massacre, the remaining survivors flee by boat.

Hugh guides his remaining crew to a nearby outpost. Survivors of his crew include his son, a bitter John Fitzgerald, and a young and naïve Bridger.

When they arrive at the outpost not everyone in the group approves of Hugh and his half Native American son, especially John Fitzgerald.

Tensions grow on who should be in command and are tolerated, until Hugh goes out trapping and gets viciously attacked by a bear. When the crew hears screams coming out from the woods, they find him inches away from death.

Hugh is left paralyzed, and claw marks run down his back and chest. John Fitzgerald’s mentality is “every man for himself,” while the other two members, including his son, want to carry him back to safety.

John then tries to smother Hugh and Hawk catches sight. This leads to a fatal altercation with John and Hawk in front of the eyes of Hugh, who can only lay there and do nothing.

John and Bridger leave them both for dead. In a vengeance Hugh picks himself up. The only thing that will keep him going is to avenge his son’s death, and kill John.

Hugh’s character can be described as indestructible, and his path to recovery can be compared to the mythological phoenix coming out of the ashes only born again to seek justice for his dead son.

Strong themes presented in this film to watch out for include natural selection (survival of the fittest), the motif of revenge and the deadly force of nature.

The film has already won three Golden Globes for best director, best motion picture-drama, best performance by an actor in a drama and a slew of 12 Oscar nominations. “The Revenant” has been much anticipated by critics and viewers alike.

This is an Oscar worthy performance from Leonardo DiCaprio and can be seen as his best method acting yet. Tom Hardy (John Fitzgerald) was a convincing antagonist and portrayed a bitter, selfish man, who the audience can sometimes pity but also hate.

What is unique about the filming technique is the director uses natural lighting instead of green screen to provide the viewer with a real and raw view of the harsh winter conditions, natural selection and the tranquility of the mountainous scenery.

“The Revenant” is a revival of the American Western, a drama, action and thriller all into one that will leave you at the edge of your seat. I highly recommend anyone to go see it before it leaves theaters.

Email Katie at:
kvelez2@live.esu.edu

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