After being mauled by a bear and left for dead, Hugh Glass (Di Caprio) embarks on a 200 mile quest for revenge.
Well this year started off kind of depressing didn’t it? We lost Lemmy, then Bowie and then Alan Rickman, all within a few days of each other. Can things get any worse? Well we could be shredded to bits by a bear as well have a broken leg then left for dead by our comrades and have to embark on a two hundred mile trek against the elements with maggots eating the rotten flesh off your back so it doesn’t turn gangrenous. Did I mention that you might have to crawl half the way since that was what the real Hugh Glass did. Did I give away too much you think? Well fear not because first of all, all of that happened for real and believe it or not the movie is quite tame in comparison but by all means don’t let that get you down, this movie literally puts you in the Glass’s shoes and assaults your senses to exhaustion.
So let’s take it from the top, we begin with Glass, (Di Caprio) and his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) hunting elk while the rest of his posse is attacked by Native Americans in quite brutal fashion. Arrows get lodged in throats, natives get their heads caved in by the butts of muskets, it’s all quite thrilling and we’re hardly ten minutes into the movie. So with that said Glass, who’s acting as a guide for Captain Henry (Gleeson) and his merry men? One of them is Fitzgerald (Hardy) who doesn’t take kindly to Glass or his son who is half native. While scouting ahead after ditching their boat Glass is attacked by a mother bear protecting her cubs, tense is not the word. Since this is based on a true story, we can only imagine what kind of man Glass was having survived a bear attack where he was injured to the point of his ribs showing. While the rest of us would be screaming in our boots, Glass fights off the bear and wins after being torn apart. However, the weather is doing no one any favours and they decide to leave Glass behind with Fitzgerald and Bridger (Will Poulter) They abandon him and that’s when things just keep getting worse and worse for Glass as he must fight the elements and exact revenge.
If you’ve done your history you probably heard what Di Caprio went through while making this movie, from living inside of animal carcasses to having to eat real bison liver. This not only strengthens his performance but also gives us a slight hint of what he and glass had to endure.
We have all felt cold once in our lives, hell at the time of writing this outside its minus degrees, one can only imagine what these lot both as in cast and the original expedition went through. Lubezki’s camera loves the snow as well as close ups of its actors faces but that’s not all. You hear a lot when a director says he wants to put you in the action but then shakes the camera around until you vomit. Here the camera is steady, the shots are not only long but fulfilling. One too many close ups of the actors nostrils but hey, at least they’re good looking. As you’re aware from Inarritu’s Birdman, he loves his long shots and here they are a plenty.
As for Hardy, he is on top menacing form as the troubled Fitzgerald, a man whose morals were lost a long time ago, half a head of missing hair clarifies that. Naturally his villainy was built up even more for the film and it has been revealed that this movie is the reason why he quit Suicide Squad and you know what? Good on him for doing so for I believe this might get him his first Oscar, if not, ah well who cares?
Overall this is a movie that has to be seen to be believed, no matter how much will be written about it, nothing will do it justice. Naturally it isn’t for the faint of heart, as I stated before this movie will take you on both an emotional and physical journey with its two hour plus run time and through the series of events that happens. Did I mention there’s a subplot of a Native American tribe looking for their daughter? And that if they find Leo they’ll probably kill him? Too much tension but filmmaking at its finest.
We’ve heard, we’ve read and we’ve just about seen what the human spirit can do but never like this before. The real Hugh Glass would give Bear Grylls a run for his money.