The Revenant

The Revenant (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2015)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Suffering, suffering ... suffering ...

Sometimes, as with Birdman, Mr. Iñárritu’s last movie, this desire to knock the audience out pays off. The Revenant is a more explicitly serious, graver and aspirational effort. Working again with a team that includes the director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki ..., Mr. Iñárritu creates a lush, immersive world that suggests what early-19th-century North America might have looked like once upon an antediluvian time. Yet he complicates the myth of the American Eden—and with it the myth of exceptionalism—by giving Glass an Indian wife and mixed-race son. It’s a strategic move (and another bit of sizzle) that turns a loner into a sympathetic family man. It also softens the story. Instead of another hunter for hire doing his bit to advance the economy one pelt at a time, Glass becomes a sentimentalized figure and finally as much victim as victimizer. Manohla Dargis, NYT.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 25 July, 2018 | Now: 4 October, 2019