ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

On A Wilderness Quest: The Revenant

Updated on January 16, 2016

In The Revenant, a party of pelt hunters and their protectors encounter hostilities as they go about their business. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Hugh Glass, an experienced guide in the 1820s in a part of the Louisiana Purchase now known as Wyoming. The group, however, gets ambushed by Anikara Indians seeking to get revenge on those who kidnapped Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk'o), the daughter of tribal leader Elk Dog (Duane Howard). Glass is one of just ten ambush survivors who make their way to safety in a remote part of the forest. The next day, Glass is severely injured by a mother grizzly protecting her cubs. Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson), the expedition leader, will not let Glass die without making the effort to save him, but that directive slows down the survivors trying to return to their base. In exchange for added pay, Henry finds Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) and Glass's half-Pawnee son Hawk (Forest Goodluck) willing to stay with Glass while the others return to their fort. However, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), himself an experienced hunter and trapper, convinces Henry to let him stay with the teenaged Hawk and Bridger. Henry tasks Fitzgerald to make sure that Glass gets care and burial.

Once Henry and the others leave, though, Fitzgerald plans to end the care part for the speechless and virtually immobile Glass. When Hawk catches Fitzgerald trying to smother his father, Fizgerald responds by killing Hawk and burying Glass alive. Fitzgerald ensures Bridger's silence as the two head to Henry's outpost. Glass, though, finds the strength to crawl from his grave and discover Hawk's body. He starts to treat his own injuries as he makes his own slow return to the base. A Pawnee man called Hikuc (Arthur Redcloud) gives him food and aid until he himself is hanged. Shortly after Hikuc's death, Glass learns who abducted Powaqa, and risks his own life to save her. Fitzgerald, on his return to the outpost with Bridger, tells Henry a series of lies about Glass and Hawk, which become unraveled when Glass finally is discovered to be alive.

The Revenant, based on a novel by Michael Punke and inspired by the real Hugh Glass, captures the feel and the danger of the old west in stunning fashion. Most of the movie has its setting during a frigid time of year. Director and co-scenarist Alejandro G. Inarritu makes the cold weather seem as palpable as the inhumanity shown on the three sides of the movie's conflict - Fitzgerald, the Anikara, and the rival French trappers who have ulterior motives of their own. Some of the treatments Glass uses to improve his condition are primitive, even by 1820s standards. Glass is not merely content with surviving - he wants to deal with Fitzgerald once and for all. While Inarritu moves at a deliberately slow pace, he sometimes moves too slowly in a film that does not have a great deal of dialogue. Viewers do not need as detailed an ordeal as the director delivers, but he does create a vivid picture of the time. As he did for Inarritu in Birdman, Emmanuel Lubezki delivers a host of striking images of a place far from civilization.

The Revenant also features one of DiCaprio's most memorable performances. Hugh Glass leads by action more than he does by words. He uses all of his survival skill to endure in a situation that would have killed most others. Some of the vegetation Glass finds helps to heal his wounds, and uses other vegetation and tree limbs to build fires. While some of the anger in Glass finds itself expressed in words, DiCaprio often uses expression to show his disdain for Fitzgerald or mourn the loss of Hawk, as Glass is too incapacitated to do little else. Hardy acts more like a mercenary than an ally as the tough and nasty Fitzgerald, whose main concern is profit. Even as the Arikara kill most of their party, he wonders primarily if they can retrieve the pelts they have already acquired. Others around him know they can either stay silent about his deeds or be silenced. Gleeson and Poulter offer fine support as Henry and Bridger, who ultimately never lose their sense of humanity. It is Bridger, who lived in a large part of the 19th century west, who performs the one act of kindness that he can that becomes pivotal in Glass's fate. I also admired the small parts of Goodluck and Redcloud as natives who gave their lives to help Glass.

The Revenant follows the Oscar success of Birdman with another work that has garnered deserved acclaim. Inarritu successfully shifts from one man's comic misadventures to another's near-death experiences as he takes viewers to a time where men often had to rely on their own cunning to deal with the elements and the life native to that land. It also helps men like Hugh Glass to be among men he can trust without question. When one of them breaks that trust in irreversible fashion, Glass determines to find that man and make him pay. The Revenant is a well-done western that shows the harshness of conditions - not only of those in nature, but also of those in the nature of some men.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Revenant 3.5 stars. A fight to the finish for survival.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Mills 

      2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Thanks Mel. This film is just a part of a crop of good Oscar Best Picture nominees. I like Inarritu's work, too.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      2 years ago from San Diego California

      I am still hoping to see this. Innaritu seems to deliver in everything he does. Great hub.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Pat Mills 

      2 years ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      Thanks. That's the one reason I didn't give The Revenant the highest recommendation.

    • Mark Sammut profile image

      Mark Sammut 

      2 years ago from Malta

      DiCaprio was great in this. I found it overlong to be honest, but well put together movie.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)