Date Night: The Revenant
Julie and I had a chance to go out for Date Night, and we decided to get some dinner and see a movie. We originally decided to see The Big Short based on recommendations from Danny and Ryan (our boys) who saw the movie this week. Julie and I purchased our tickets early, got some dinner, and arrived at the theater just in time to catch the final previews. Unfortunately, the movie theater was completely full, and there were three couples (including us) looking for seats. Frustrated, we talked to customer service and decided that for date night, we would watch The Revenant.
I believe I have been watching trailers for this movie for almost nine months, and it intrigued me. I could tell the movie had some potential from the scenes of Leonardo DiCaprio battling Native Americans, bobbing over waterfalls and falling over a cliff on a horse. I knew Leo wanted an Oscar, and this just had “epic movie” written all over it.
The basic plot of The Revenant is that a group of trappers are hunting beavers and collecting pelts on the frontier of early America. Among the party is Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his Native American son. Based on early conversations between men in the trapping party, this group is in hostile territory and needs to break camp before they are detected. Unfortunately, they do not break camp fast enough, and the enemy attacks.
Losing men and beaver pelts, the hunting party launches their boat and head downriver towards the fort. Due to his extensive experience and knowledge, Hugh Glass is the hunting party’s guide. He recommends leaving the boat and hiking back to the fort. The expedition’s leader agrees, and begrudgingly, the group leaves the boat, stashes the bundles of pelts and heads overland.
Along the way, Hugh Glass is attacked and mauled by a female grizzly bear. Seriously wounded, the group leaves Hugh with three of the expedition: his son, a trapper named John Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hardy) and a young man named Jim Bridger. John Fitzgerald kills Hugh’s son, and John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger leave Hugh Glass for dead and head to the fort.
The majority of the movie features Hugh Glass’ journey back to the fort, evading Native Americans and French trappers, surviving the elements and navigating rugged terrain. The final segment of the movie is a manhunt for John Fitzgerald so that Hugh can exact revenge for the murder of his son.
Our Thoughts About The Revenant
Our family thought The Revenant was epic and a thriller. Julie and I would not classify it as a “date night” movie, but it was an ambitious film. Here are a few of my thoughts about the movie:
- Scenery – The scenery along was worth the price of admission: sweeping mountain ranges, deep pine and birch forests, laughing creeks, rolling rivers and wicked changes in winter weather. This movie should rake in awards for its setting, lighting and scenes.
- GoPro Perspective – I thought that some of these scenes were shot from a “GoPro perspective,” meaning you were right in the middle of the action. This is particularly true for the battle scene early on in the movie. Since I love my GoPro, I did not have a problem with this and thought it was a cool way to shoot a movie.
- Story – The story was interesting and kept us on the edge of our seats. We just could not believe the horrible luck Hugh Glass had: if it wasn’t the bear, it was the Native Americans. If it wasn’t the Native Americans, it was members of his own trapping party. If it wasn’t members of the trapping party, it was the deadly terrain and elements. It was quite an amazing story of survival.
- Unbelievable Survival – While I could see a man in such extreme elements and terrain finding a way to survive, there are a few unbelievable parts to the story. Hugh had a broken leg. How it magically healed so he could walk miles upon miles is beyond me. Additionally, Hugh escapes at one point by slipping into the nearly frozen river filled with ice, going downstream over the falls and eventually landing on the banks of the river. Weakened from being mauled, Hugh would have succumbed to hypothermia long before he made it downstream. He also would have drown as that heavy gear became waterlogged.
- Breathing – Ragged and rough breathing is featured throughout the movie. It makes sense since Hugh’s throat is essentially cut open by the bear’s claw and chest crushed by the bear standing on him (hat tip to The Great Outdoors). However, Hugh’s breathing and voice reminded me of Gollum in Lord of the Rings. Rasping and grunting were Leonardo’s order of the day for a large part of the movie. Of interest, the director used Hugh’s breath to fog the camera on several occasions to transition to other scenes. It was an interesting technique.
- Dream Sequences – The director added several dream sequences into the movie that were confusing at times. These sequences told of Hugh’s backstory, but they also foreshadowed that something more horrendous was about to happen to Hugh. There was one dream sequence that showed his wife suspended over Hugh as he lay in a field. I actually laughed at that point because it just looked silly. I thought these were a bit overdone and confusing at times.
Recommendation for The Revenant
Overall, our family thought The Revenant was an intense movie and featured breath-taking scenery. We recommend this movie, although it is probably not a date night movie unless you like bear attacks, bows and arrows, some scalping and plenty of snow and ice.