Alejandro González Iñárritu made a case for himself as one of the most promising filmmakers of the 2000s with the films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, a collection known as his “Death Trilogy”. Given the name, you can guess the films were not exactly fun affairs. All three films were realist dramas focusing on damaged people and each presented a very bleak world view. Personally, I found all of the aforementioned films to be highly powerful and provocative works, but I do get why they may not be for everyone. After his 2010 effort Biutiful was met with general indifference, Iñárritu struck out with Birdman, a film vastly different from what Iñárritu had built his name on. While the film certainly had some dark streaks, Birdman was much more comedic and high energy and it seems that change of pace was exactly what Iñárritu needed. Birdman was a critical and financial success which went on to win the Best Picture Oscar and Iñárritu also won for Best Director. I loved the film and given how different it was from the rest of Iñárritu’s filmography, I was really curious to what he would make next. As it turns out, his next film is yet another turn. That film is The Revenant, and while it is very different from Iñárritu’s early work, it certainly does embrace the dark tone of the “Death Trilogy”.
The Revenant is set in the 1820s in frontier America and follows a group of hunters in the process of collecting pelts. As the film begins, the group is attacked by a tribe of Native Americans who wipe out most of the hunting party, with the exception of a handful of survivors who escape by boat. With dwindling numbers and still at risk, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) advises the group abandon the boat and their pelts and instead chart a new path on foot to avoid further attacks. This decision places great animosity between Glass and fellow hunter John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Shortly after, Glass is mauled in a brutal bear attack leaving him unable to walk or speak and very near death. Given the group cannot risk carrying Glass back, Captain Andrew Harry (Domhnall Gleeson) leaves Glass in the care of his son, Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), young hunter Jim Bridger (Will Poulter), and the aforementioned Fitzgerald until help can arrive. Fitzgerald however, has other plans. After attacking Glass, Fitzgerald murders Hawk and buries Glass alive. Glass lives on though, and begins to crawl his way through the wilderness with the singular goal of finding and killing Fitzgerald. Read the rest of this entry »