Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – The Revenant


Synopsis: Out in the Dakota frontier during a harsh winter in the early 1800s, a group of trappers are hunting for pelts that will fetch them a good profit. One of their number, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) runs afoul of a bear and gets thoroughly mauled, making him unable to walk and forcing them to leave him behind with some men to help his recovery. One of these, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), fearing that they’ll be easy targets for the natives he hates so much, kills Hugh’s half-Native American son (Isaiah Tootoosis) and deceives the others to believe there is an oncoming attack and to leave Hugh for dead. But Hugh literally drags his broken body across the winter plains, avoiding more animals, some vengeful natives, and French opportunists, and slowly putting himself back together in his hunt for revenge.

Review: The Revenant is not a movie that even entertains the notion of wearing kiddie gloves. It is visceral, brutal, and as unforgiving as the frontier in which it takes place. It’s also punishingly long, clocking in at two and a half hours of Leonardo DiCaprio limping around the frozen wilderness with gruesome injuries. But that’s the only solid complaint this movie will get out of me because I thought it was spectacular and I don’t think I could have cut a thing from it. Special mention goes to the performances (though Tom Hardy’s strange Western-Canadian-Minnesotan-Whatever accent can be distracting at times) and the camerawork, which captures both the beauty and the harshness of this environment.

This, of course, will go down in history as the movie that finally got Leo his Oscar. Many people who haven’t seen it will wonder if he really deserved it. I will say… yes. Yes, he absolutely did. DiCaprio has gained a reputation of screaming through some of his lines to give his performances weight. Here, it’s the opposite: without having the ability to speak for most of the movie he has to convey very complex emotions and he does it really well. The imagery associated with his character is also really powerful, particularly where he pulls himself, broken and mangled, out of the shallow grave he was buried in, like the vengeful spirit that is the movie’s namesake.

Throughout my viewing, I noticed that there were a lot of unbroken takes, or long shots, particularly during action scenes like the infamous bear tussle. I haven’t seen Birdman, the director’s other Oscar-winning work, but from what I’ve heard, this seems to be part of his style. I feel that he’s the kind of guy who wants to establish himself as an ar-teest, which could explain the enormous running time. He’s a damn good ar-teest, though, so I’m not complaining. Check The Revenant out when you get the chance and see why it grabbed those Oscars.

Fun Tidbit: A good chunk of the movie was shot in Canada during the winter, but fell behind schedule and the snow melted. Rather than wait a full year for the snow to fall again, the entire production was moved to southern Argentina where there was still snow. Now that’s dedication.

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