By in Movies & TV

Movie Review: "The Revenant"

We went to see “The Revenant” yesterday. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what it turned out to be what a long film, shot in the Canadian wilderness—in winter—with a lot of snow and cold. And a lot of suffering. A lot guys killing each other, sometimes with rifles, sometimes with arrows.

The movie is set in the 1820s with a fur trapping expedition in the part of the Louisiana Purchase that would later become South Dakota. There is friction between the trappers and the locals, specifically, the Arikara (also referred to as Arikaree or Ree), who raid the camp at the beginning of the film. Roughly half the trappers survive, escaping down the river on a boat with some of the pelts.

The raid is not random, as it turns out, nor are the Arikara simply stealing the pelts because they can. The Arikara chief, Elk Dog, is looking for his daughter who has been kidnapped. The trappers don’t have her—indeed, have no knowledge of her, but that doesn’t matter.

While the trappers flee the Arikara, and also the Pawnee, a grizzly bear mauls the one man who knows the country, Hugh Glass. He eventually is left behind for the sake of the rest of the expedition, but not without betrayal, lies and outright murder. However, Glass is not quite dead yet. And survives, sometimes crawling on his belly, to tell the tale.

This is a grim, sad story with a hard-won moral at the end. A real human being would have died a dozen times enduring the things Hugh Glass went through. And a lot of horses didn’t come through too well, either. It is based in part on a novel, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke. The novel, in turn, is based on the actual events. Hugh Glass was a historical person, but I'd lay good odds he wouldn't recognize himself in this story.



Leonardo DiCaprio ... Hugh Glass

Tom Hardy ... John Fitzgerald

Domhnall Gleeson ... Captain Andrew Henry

Will Poulter ... Bridger

Forrest Goodluck ... Hawk (Hugh Glass's son)

Image Credit »

You will need an account to comment - feel free to register or login.


DWDavisRSL wrote on January 20, 2016, 9:10 AM

I have seen the promos for this movie but wasn't enticed to see it at the theater. Your review has made me think it might be worth a viewing when it comes out on the premium channels or Netflix.

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 9:19 AM

I hope you find the movie worthwhile. I dragged my husband to it. I thought he'd be uninterested. I think he liked it better than I did. If you do see it, let me know what you think.

CalmGemini wrote on January 20, 2016, 9:21 AM

I was rather surprised that you went to see the film.I did not mean this film. Well, I have not seen this film.It does seem a very grim movie.

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 9:39 AM

It is quite grim. Beautiful countryside, miserable weather and lots of people getting killed and maimed. Not to mention what happens to the poor horses who didn't ask to be included. I think I was hoping to see something of an injustice righted. Not exactly.

JohnRoberts wrote on January 20, 2016, 10:13 AM

Would you say the movie deserves its vast praise as the leading contender for the Best Picture Oscar and that Leo will probably win Best Actor?

grandma20121 wrote on January 20, 2016, 12:00 PM

it sounds like a good movie but i really do not get out to movies if it ever comes out on in stores i might get it

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 12:15 PM

I think the leads did fantastic acting jobs under trying conditions. I haven't seen enough of the other films to say that de Caprio the best, however. And hype on any picture tends to leave me cold. The story itself is a bit too simplistic for me. There's a bad guy and a good guy. The bad guy gets his comeuppance. The good guy suffers, is triumphant and learns something.

If it were more realistic, IMHO, it would be better.

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 12:16 PM

It is really violent and grim. I don't know your taste in movies, but this may not be your cup of tea. Maybe Netflix it if you have Netflix first before you buy it. You can always turn it off then if you don't like it.

CoralLevang wrote on January 20, 2016, 1:11 PM

I am unsure, after reading this review, whether it is worth seeing or not. Was there any redeeming quality?

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 1:42 PM

The landscapes are beautiful. In one scene, a meteor falls to earth as a fireball, lighting up the night. I don't say that to damn with faint praise. It is breath-taking. The sets make you feel like you're in an early 19th outpost fort. In that sense, I found it great to look at. And it leaves you with the feeling that regardless of what squabbles we humans have with one another, earth and the elements have the last say.

FourWalls wrote on January 20, 2016, 2:08 PM

I think what you said -- "Hugh Glass...wouldn't recognize himself in this story" -- can be said of nearly every movie "based on a real story" today. I remember seeing Houdini (the 1953 movie starring Tony Curtis) when I was a kid and subsequently growing up believing that Houdini had died in a failed attempt to escape from a water chamber he'd been locked in. In reality, Houdini died of peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix...but that doesn't make good drama, so they completely lied about Houdini's death. Tell it like it happened or don't bother!

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 20, 2016, 2:09 PM

I have seen ads for it. Think I will wait and hope netflix gets it

Rufuszen wrote on January 20, 2016, 3:42 PM

Not sure this is a film I'd want to see. Wonder how far from the actual history is has drifted

AliCanary wrote on January 20, 2016, 6:20 PM

I haven't seen the movie, because such things are just too harsh for me, but it has received much critical acclaim. As for what humans can survive, however, I think you would be extremely surprised!

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 7:31 PM

"Tell it like it happened or don't bother!" Especially this story, which was dramatic enough. This poor bastard really was mauled by a bear and left for dead. He made it 200 miles (or maybe 80 miles, depending on which version of the story you read)—with help from sympathetic natives—back to the fort. His story just doesn't match the Hollywood formula.

Last Edited: January 21, 2016, 9:26 AM

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 7:39 PM

I've heard of the critical acclaim. Just about the only things they didn't throw at di Caprio were a plains fire and a sinking boat. And he wasn't at risk of malaria.

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 7:40 PM

I think it that's fair. I hope it works for you.

msiduri wrote on January 20, 2016, 7:43 PM

Well, they kept the guy's name and job. And that he survived get mauled by a bear and abandoned by his companions. It get fuzzier the further you move from there.

missfortune wrote on January 21, 2016, 12:21 AM

This is the kind of movie that I'd never go to see in the theater - it's probably way too loud for my liking.

msiduri wrote on January 21, 2016, 8:56 AM

Without presuming to know your tastes, I can say it was not overly loud, especially compared to things like Star Wars and other movies where a lot of things go BOOM over and over again. There was a stark beauty to it. A lot of open skies. Flintlocks are loud when they're in your face, I guess, but not like blasters or photon torpedoes.

Last Edited: January 21, 2016, 10:12 AM