Matthew’s Monday Movie: “The Revenant”

Writer and Director Alejandro González Iñárritu has had a steady stream of success over the years, and his much celebrated film The Revenant is proof of his amazing talent and coordination to put together such an audacious project.

Our story begins in the far north near the Canadian American border, where scout and fur trapper Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is leading a group of fur trappers through unsettled territory along with his son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck).  The party of trappers are ambushed by a large group of Native Americans. Many are killed, and the survivors are forced to flee, abandoning their fur pelts and with it their livelihood. No one is more upset by this turn of events than John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fitzgerald’s character is that of a cruel and utterly selfish man who has a deep hatred of Native Americans due to being partially scalped when he was younger.

As the trappers seek to survive and evade their enemies, Glass is attacked and nearly killed by a grizzly bear. Fitzgerald urges the party to abandon Glass as the Indians are hot on their trail. Hawk refuses to leave his father, and, reluctantly, Fitzgerald and one other trapper Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) agree to stay behind for extra pay. Shortly after Fitzgerald grows impatient and attempts to “mercy kill” Glass. Hawk discovers his intentions and, in the ensuing struggle, Hawk is killed. Glass is then left for dead as Fitzgerald and Bridger return and report that Glass had died naturally.

Incredibly, Glass recovers from his wounds and starts the long trek back to the fort in search of revenge for the death of his son. He is relentlessly pursued by different Native American groups and struggles to survive the incredibly harsh frozen north. Glass finally makes it back to American territory and confronts Fitzgerald for his murderous treachery.

The Revenant is a difficult film to review because it relies heavily on its awe inspiring visuals and impressive camera angles. The fact that it was shot on location in northwest Canada in the middle of winter is a triumph alone. There are only a handful of dialogue scenes, but they only help to show the intensity of the rival characters. The physical exertion of the cast, particularly DiCaprio’s performance, is not fake: he literally is cold, wet, and in one particular scene he actually consumes the liver of a bison. It is due to this incredible commitment that DiCaprio finally one Best Actor in that year’s Academy awards.

Tom Hardy also steals the show with his amazing acting skills, as he comes off so believable in his villainous role that he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. This film also earned Iñárritu Best Director, and The Revenant would go on to earn 533 million in box office sales. The Revenant is a faithful look at what life was like in the grim and harsh expanse of early 1800’s era north America where U.S settlers and frontiersmen encounter native peoples in an often violent struggle for resources.

This film is available at the Union University Library.

*Please note it is rated R for intense violence and some language.*

Recently Added Films

        

The library’s Collection Development department has added several new films of interest to our shelves this summer. To view the collection of recently released and recently added films, visit the “Movies & More” tab on the library website. The Media Collection page displays the DVD covers as well as information about the films. Students and faculty/staff can check out a variety of films ranging from children’s classics to Best Picture winners.

Featured Book: “The Revenant”

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It is a rare feat for someone as busy as the U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, to find the time to write what would become a best-selling book. Yet that is exactly what Michael Punke did.

Inspired by the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, Punke penned a fictional tale of survival and revenge which would inspire the Oscar-nominated film of the same name. The Revenant follows Hugh Glass as he struggles to persevere through both a vicious bear attack and a monstrous betrayal by two members of his team. What unfolds is a stark examination of man vs. nature; Glass must drag himself across uncharted territory, all the while fighting off would-be attackers, dangerous animals, and his own massive wounds. If he lives through his physical ordeal, he will then have a moral dilemma to face: whether or not to deliver revenge to those who left him behind.

The Revenant is available for check-out at the library in the Recreational Reading section. More information can be found online here.