The 2015 movie “The Revenant” is based on the 2002 novel of the same name, which is in turn based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a man whose story was first recounted in 1915’s “Song of Hugh Glass.” At the Academy Awards, the film was nominated in the Best Cinematography category, a testament to its exceptional camera work. Not only did this film win lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio an Academy Award for Best Actor, but he also won Best Actor awards at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and a Critics’ Choice Award. Actors Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter also feature in the film, each delivering eloquent performances. The costumes department also deserves praise for representing the Western period drama well.
The film transports audiences into the American Old West to experience a fierce portrayal of frontier life. The film closely follows the story of Hugh Glass, played by DiCaprio, a frontiersman dealing with survival, betrayal and perseverance. After a conflict with the Indigenous Arikara people and a brutal bear attack, Glass finds himself stripped of most of his traveling party and partnered with only a companion who thinks he should be left for dead. Amidst rising tensions, Glass exemplifies wisdom and perseverance through losing those closest to him as he fights to remain a force in the wild unknown.
As an R-rated film, “The Revenant” is certainly not family-friendly. Many scenes display considerable violence and gore, although this brutality is meant to show how frontier life was during the 1800s. One of “The Revenant’s” most admirable achievements is its transformation of its epic poem source material into a film that is gritty, realistic and tragic.