http://outreach.hawaii.edu/noncredit/courses/programdetail/3487 (a link to information about my workshop on current movies)
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the new film called THE REVENANT, and he’ll probably win his first Oscar for his gritty performance.
DiCaprio plays the title character in THE REVENANT; the title means “a person who has come back from the dead.”
That person is Hugh Glass, a frontier scout in the 1820’s who is mauled by a grizzly bear and left to die in a frozen wilderness two hundred miles from civilization.
His agonizing struggle for survival makes up the bulk of this extremely powerful adventure directed by last year’s Oscar winning director, Alejandro Innaritu with stunning visuals by last year’s Academy Award winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki.
In the first minutes of this fierce epic, the fur trappers Hugh Glass is scouting for is attacked by Indians. People are dying left and right and the wide angle cinematography makes you feel immersed in the action.
Soon after that battle, Glass is mauled by a grizzly bear. The savage attack may be too brutal for many film goers. I know I looked away from it at least once. At one you point you think the mauling has finished, but the bear comes back one more time.
Afterwards, Glass cannot speak or move.
Fitzgerald: The proper thing to do would be to finish him off quick.
Leader of the trappers: This man is the only reason we’re still alive. He’s to be cared for as long as necessary.
Fitzgerald: I understand.
That’s Tom Hardy as Fitzgerald, the villainous hypocrite who takes money to stay behind with Glass but kills the wounded man’s son and leaves Glass half buried in a snowy grave. (Hardy has earned a best supporting actor nomination for his performance here.)
That’s just the beginning of the incredible suffering that Glass endures over the next hour of film time as he desperately clings to life, clawing and dragging himself across the perilous, frigid landscape, determined to find and kill Fitzgerald.
Even after Glass gets a horse and a weapon, things don’t get much easier. He is chased by a band of Indians and his only escape is over a cliff.
THE REVENANT is a simple but profound story, full of misery and pain, yet I recommend it to anyone who can handle watching so much brutality and suffering because it’s so masterfully filmed—often in long takes with a superb sound track and a stirring emotional score. Cast and crew worked under incredibly adverse conditions, and their final product is a stunning masterpiece of terrible beauty.
If you’d like to learn more about THE REVENANT and other recent movies, consider signing up for the 8 session noncredit workshop I’ll be leading for Pacific New Media, the Outreach college at UH. We will meet every other Wednesday evening, starting February 3rd. To register, click on the link at the top of this page.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org