ST. LOUIS — As I watched “The Revenant” I thought this was very similar to two other films I have viewed in the past. One is “Jeremiah Johnson” starring Robert Redford and the other was “A Man in the Wilderness” starring Richard Harris.
If you can remember these films and liked them, then you will love “The Revenant.”
Deep in the uncharted American wilderness in the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is severely injured after being mauled by a bear. Glass is left for dead by a treacherous member of his fur trading expedition team, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). With sheer will as his only weapon, Glass navigates an unforgiving environment, a brutal winter and warring Indian tribes in a quest to survive and to seek vengeance on Fitzgerald. “The Revenant” is inspired by a true story.
The acting by four-time Academy Award-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio is absolutely amazing. He performed most of his own stunts. There is one part where he is in freezing ice-cold water. I thought surely that was filmed on a sound stage but no — it was out in the wild and he almost suffered from hypothermia. Every time he would get out of the water, they would cover him in blankets and place him next to a heater.
It took numerous takes for the director to get what he wanted. In the meantime DiCaprio almost froze to death. Talk about dedication to your craft; I would have quit on the spot. I get cold just writing about it. In fact, you may want to view this film with something warm to drink, like, coffee or hot chocolate laced with Kahlua or Baileys or Irish whiskey just to keep warm.
Tom Hardy plays a great bad guy that you really love to hate. Hardy, an English actor, is very versatile and extremely busy. Besides “The Revenant” he has starred in “Legend,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and two other films this year alone.
“The Revenant” was written Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Mark L. Smith, based in part on the 2002 historical novel by Michael Punke “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge,” inspired by a real frontiersman named Hugh Glass.
“The Revenant” is directed by Academy Award-winner Iñárritu (“Birdman,” “Babel”).
Shot in Argentina and Canada, the scenery is gorgeous. Just as you are enjoying the visual splendor of the pristine wilderness, the director takes you to the hideous barbaric destruction man wrought on this majestic wilderness.
“The Revenant” opens Friday at AMC Eastgate Showplace 6 in East Alton and at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.
The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Mary’s website at www.mlcwriter.com.