The Revenant

 

20th Century Fox

 

Rating: R

 

Reason for the Rating: Strong frontier combat and violence including gory images, a sexual assault, language and brief nudity.

 

Plot Summary: Inspired by revenge and love for his family, frontiersman Hugh Glass overcomes unimaginable obstacles to avenge his son.

 

PopFam Recommends: This is an intense, violent movie that seems best-suited for adults and mature teenagers only.

 

It may have been awhile since you've seen a "western." You know those movies dealing with the time when American Indians were fighting to keep their land, and others were fighting to take it. But I can guarantee, you've never seen a movie like The Revenant.

 

Revenant is a French word that means to return, specifically from the dead. In the early 1820's, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a guide on a fur trading expedition when the company he was with was attacked by Indians. Gathering what pelts they were able, ten men fled downriver in a boat to escape the carnage. On the advice of Glass, the men reluctantly abandoned the boat, hid the pelts, and took to finding their fort on foot. At the beginning of winter. In the mountains.

 

One morning while scouting the area, Glass unfortunately comes upon baby bear cubs, and their mother who brutally attacks Glass. Found badly wounded, his men do what they can to stitch up his wounds, lay him on a makeshift litter, and carry him out of the mountains...all the while dodging the Indians who are on their own journey of revenge. Realizing the remaining few will not all make it out if they attempt to bring Glass along, Captain Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) makes the difficult decision to leave Glass in the care of three men: Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Bridger (Will Poulter), and Glass's own son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck). Expecting Glass to die, they are to care for him until that moment and then give him a "decent burial."

 

Fitzgerald is a ruthless man, who doesn't like, well, anyone, but especially seems to hate Glass and Hawk, who is half Pawnee Indian. After several days, Fitzgerald is tired of waiting for Glass to die or the Indians to show up. Taking matters into his own hands, he murders Hawk and convinces Bridger to leave Glass for dead. But Glass, having seen the murder of his son, refuses to give up. Pulling himself up out of his shallow grave, Glass begins his gut-wrenching journey to find Fitzgerald.

 

Director Alejandro Iñárritu created a masterpiece in The Revenant. Yes, it's gruesome in many parts, and there is little softness to relax into while taking in this story (which is based on a true story), but it's one you can't tear yourself away from. The intensity of the film might stop with the story, but it started with the director and continued with others involved in the making of the movie. Iñárritu filmed in remote areas of British Columbia and Argentina during the winter, and only used natural lighting for added realism. DiCaprio ate a real, raw bison liver, because he wanted it to appear as real as possible. It seems that everyone involved was all in on this one. The acting is amazing. The cinematography stunning, The score was almost invisible, in that it didn't overpower the story, but remained in the background. This is a beautifully told story.

 

But then there is the issue of total brutality and the fight for survival, which isn't so beautiful. And is why parents should be aware that this is not a movie for just anyone or any child. There is a lot of blood, a lot of killing, a lot of hatred, and a lot of suffering.

 

The Revenant tackles a horrific story, riddled with hatred and revenge, and makes it something worth watching. It is art in its telling, acting, and viewing, and is unlike anything you'll see for a long time.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Did Glass die at the end? Defend your answer.

 

• Deut. 32:35 says, " It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them." Why didn't Glass kill Fitzgerald in the end?

 

• Several times in the movie, Glass's wife is quoted as saying, "When there is a storm. And you stand in front of a tree. If you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you will see its stability." How do you see this truth in your life? How does it challenge you?

 

--JW

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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