The Revenant review
My one paragraph take on the movie: great cinematography, great shots of the winter wilderness, savage Indian attacks, never has the world so realistically seen a man mauled by a bear (thanks to CGI), but did it have to be so damn long? Isn’t two hours of bearded men wandering around in wilderness enough?
They say that the Oscars are “too white”, however this movie, nominated for Best Picture, was directed by a Mexican, Alejandro González Iñárritu. He’s white-looking, tall, and distinguished. See photos at Google Images. He looks nothing like the Mexican guys at the Korean-owned bodega across the street who make me bacon egg and cheese sandwiches. (I have nothing against the Mexican guys at the bodega, they are always very pleasant, but I can’t imagine them directing a movie.)
Sorry, the rest of the review has spoilers.
Hawk: Hugh Glass’ half-Indian son Hawk felt very out of place, like it was something added to appease modern SWPL sensibilities and not something that would realistically be part of the story. And indeed, doing some internet research I discovered that neither the historical Hugh Glass nor the Hugh Glass in the novel by Michael Punke had a half-Indian son. Because the movie is mostly about Hugh Glass surviving alone in the wilderness, the half-Indian son has nothing to do in the movie besides die, giving Hugh a reason for wanting revenge. Although the novel may have been about revenge, the movie was about a guy trying not to die, until the very end when we discover that there’s also a revenge element.
Hawk had even less of a role in the movie than the black guy in the most recent Star Wars movie. And in another connection to Star Wars, in the scene in which Hugh gets naked and gets inside a horse to keep warm, my immediate thought was “he must have learned that trick from The Empire Strikes Back.”
Hawk’s purpose in the movie is to (1) die; and (2) act as a litmus test for who’s good and who’s bad. Those who hate him for being an Indian (John Fitzgerald) are bad, and those who accept him (Hugh Glass, the Captain Andrew Henry and the young guy Bridger) are good.
Magical Native American trope: The movie unoriginally uses the very common Magical Native American trope. Throughout the movie, Hugh Glass has mystical visions of his son and Indian wife. I couldn’t make any sense of them. Whenever the movie cut to one of these mystical visions, my thought was when can this end so we can go back to real movie?
Leonardo DiCaprio: Whenever I think of Leonardo DiCaprio I think of the kid in the movie Titanic, so it’s hard to think of the guy playing the grizzly middle-aged mountain man Hugh Glass as the same person.
Could Hugh Glass really have survived all that? The original legend is that Hugh Glass survived a bear attack in which everyone who was with him thought he had no chance of making it. So of course, that had to be in the movie. But in order to make the movie more exciting, Hugh also survives tumbling over waterfalls in an icy-cold river, and riding his horse off of a ridiculously high cliff. The movie thus becomes a popcorn action flick instead of a realistic movie of survival.
Indians and French subplot: The movie has a subplot about Indians and Frenchmen which could have easily been left out to make the movie shorter, except that it was added in order to give the savage Indians a justification for their savagery and show that the real bad guys where the white Frenchmen.
Early 1800s mountain-man accents: I couldn’t understand half of the dialog because they were mumbling in early 1800s mountain-man accents. As if anyone knows what mountain-men in the early 1800s sounded like.