A lesson in self-motivation: based on true events The Revenant reminds that the worn-out phrase of ”never give up’ still has to be taken at face-value.
The Revenant sparked attention even before the action-laden frontier story saw its theatrical release on December 25, 2015. What had happened? American newssource Drudgereport.com, visited by more than 60 million users every month, headlined on December 1st with the following statement:
From there on, The Revenant has been in the talks not only for its intense winter footage filmed on location in Canada and Argentina, but also for a gut-wrenching scene in which a full grown Grizzly Bear attacks Hugh Glass, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character and the main character of the movie.
In the movie Glass eventually manages to kill the bear, but not before the beast has bitten, suffocated and tossed the more-dead-than-alive Glass around like a cat would play with a mouse before the final kill. Left behind severely wounded in the midst of nowhere the Grizzly attack serves a as the turning point of the movie: deserted, mauled and half-dead Glass fights his way back into life.
Best Movies For Men: The Revenant (2015)
DiCaprio vs the actual Hugh Glass | Photo: Historyvshollywood.com
Dealing with American trappers hunting for pelts in Northern Lousiana in 1823 The Revenant starts off with a bombastic opening scene that is on-par with that of Apocalypse Now: members of the Native American Arikara tribe launch a surpise attack on the trappers’ camp: arrows are flying, piercing throats and skulls from all angles, and only in a head-over-heels flight is a minority of
trappers lucky enough to make it out of the situation alive. Among the escapees are Glass, who has an half-native son, as well as fellow trapper John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) who is in close to Sgt. Barnes, Tom Berenger’s character in Platoon in his regard to a Gung-Ho attitude towards the Natives: Fitzgerald is highly distrustful towards Glass and his son as Natives had previously tried to scalp him.
The Grizzly Attack As A Turning Point In The Movie
While Glass – as the only member of the party – survived the surprise attack on the camp in a rather confident way, it is the Grizzly attack that transitions to the movie’s real plotline: man’s strive for survival despite utter helplessness and under utterly hostile conditions. Glass may
have gotten out of the skirmished trappers’ camp easily, when attacked by a Grizzly Bear he is nothing but “thrown around like cat with a ball of yarn”, as DiCaprio put it in an interview. “It almost becomes virtual reality in a lot of ways. You feel very voyeuristic, like you’re watching something you shouldn’t be witnessing […] a lot of what is so powerful about that sequence is the moments of silence they [artists] create. The silence between man and beast and what’s going to happen next.” – perhaps refering to the almost 5 minute long Grizzly scene as rape was in fact not too far off.
What Glass did not get out of easily, however, were the fights against beast, man and nature that followed the attack on the camp.
A War On Three Fronts
What is kicking off with the grizzly attack is a portrayal of harsher aspects of the human condition. Namely, man’s need to combat – or subiugate in the sense of the Old Testament or even John Locke – the animal kingdom, to face his fellow men that not always feature noble intention as well as unforgiving nature that in The Revenant is a character. What Hugh Glass does is simply refuse to give in. After sustaining heavy injury and experiencing utter helpness fighting off a 300kg force of nature, after being buried alive by
Fitzgerald and even after having to sleep in a horse’s carcass in order to survive a deadly cold night Glass simply refuses to give up. If there was a message in the movie at all then it would be just that: Glass refuses to give up.
Transpositioning The Revenant Into Modern Society
While revenge definitely plays a role – John Fitzgerald kills Glass’ only son, thus making him prone to survival to take revenge, eventually having Fitzgerald killed by natives – it is in fact survival – not revenge – that
makes for the bottom line of the movie. One way of making sense of The Revenant would be to see it as an involuntary version of 2007’s Into The Wild. As limited as this comparison is, it puts the stress on nature as the core aspect of the film. Considering the institutional setup of any modern society it is legit to claim that society itself has become a naure-like power that reigns over the individual like the frosty nights of Northern Louisiana reigned over the life and death of Hugh Glass.
Glass’ answer to all of that?
The Revenant: Score