Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Revenant [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (L)  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars) (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (B. Tallerico) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review  

The Revenant [2015] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Alejandro González Iñárritu [wikip] [IMDb] along with Mark L. Smith [IMDb] based on the novel The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge (2002) [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Michael Punke [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is a stark (and IMHO needlessly long) if often beautifully shot film that tells the story of American mountain man Hugh Glass [wikip] [WCat] [IMDb] (played in the film by Leonardo Di Caprio) who in 1823, while leading a band of fur trappers working for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company "back to civilization" at the end of an already ill fated hunting expedition, was mauled by a grizzly bear near the Yellowstone River that he happened-upon and then was left for dead by his colleagues.

'Cept he did not die ...

... instead, despite terrible wounds -- including deep gashes in his back and then others across his ribs and throat -- he used his wilderness skills to progressively patch himself together and travel, often by foot, often BY CRAWLING, HUNDREDS OF MILES back to Ft. Kiowa, then the nearest American settlement located in present day South Dakota on the Missouri River TO FIND THE MEN -- Bridger (played by Will Poulter), John Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hardy) and Capt. Andrew Henry (played by Domhnahl Gleeson) -- who had abandoned him and (at least in the movie) killed his son (played in the film by Forrest Goodluck).

The story becomes a meditation on justice / revenge.  While struggling back to camp / back to civilization, Glass must figure out -- Readers remember that he was unconscious or at best semi-conscious at the time of his abandonment / apparent murder of his son -- WHO was guilty, TO WHAT EXTENT guilty, and then WHAT WOULD CONSTITUTE JUSTICE, for him, in his circumstances.  And at least in the film, he is warned by a Native American who he encounters on his way back to civilization that "Justice belongs to the Creator" (not unlike St. Paul's admonition that vengeance belongs not to us but to God [cf. Rm 12:19]).

What does Glass in the film do?  What did he actually do (look it up, you have the tools, above)?  What would you do?

Not a bad film, but honestly, probably a bit longer than it needed to be, though the scenery in the film was often spectacular, if also very, very cold.

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