Bear Grylls is a bad-ass dude. Simple as that — he constantly puts himself in situations that would spell the end of an average man. A true survivalist in extreme places. However, he is Dora the Explorer when compared to the circumstantial hell that Hugh Glass suffers throughout the entirety of Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s epic revenge, quasi-western.
Stationed with a group of trappers — led by the pragmatic Captain Andrew Henry — we are completely immersed into the camp. The stunning visuals and breathtaking camera work pay dividends. After a surprising attack from a Native Indian tribe, most of the men are killed with many wounded. The remaining men retreat for the boat and set a new course. Glass — whose own son is half Indian — suggests setting the course “back up on land”. Captain Henry concurs, taking into consideration Glass’ survival prowess in conditions similar to theirs. This comes much to the dismay of John Fitzgerald, who is particularly prejudiced against Indians, having been partially scalped by Natives many moons ago.
The men set up camp and Glass continues to scout the surrounding jungle. He is then subsequently mauled by a grizzly bear, in one of the most brutal and unflinching scenes in recent memory. In a coma, the men carry Glass as baggage through the unforgiving wilderness, which upsets Fitzgerald — who sees him as a liability. Glass partially awakens from his coma, slowly regaining his senses and he is able to witness the cold-blooded murder of his own son, committed by Fitzgerald. Left for dead and buried in the dirt, Hugh Glass must trek his way through the forest, evading hostile Native Indians, wild animals and his own personal demons to persevere.
Despite some clunky moments and a flat ending, Mark L. Smith and Innaritu bring each character to life in their script adaptation of Michael Punke’s novel of the same name.
VERDICT – A harrowing, exhausting tale about survival and revenge. Leonardo DiCaprio will win his overdue Academy Award, and no one will EVER overlook Tom Hardy again.
RATING: 9.1 – Awesome
MVP: It’s really hard to split between Leo and Hardy, but we have to choose one dammit! *drumroll* DiCaprio: for perfectly embodying the will of a survivor;