Thursday, February 25, 2016


It's deCaprio Vs deCrude People, deCruel Nature, deCoarse Beast!

3.5 stars

Mini Review:

Grunt. deCaprio. Grunt. Bear. Grunt. deCaprio. Grunt. Tom Hardy. Grunt. Bear. Grunt. deCaprio. Grunt. Horse. Grunt. Indians. Grunt. deCaprio. Grunt.

Main Review:

Let's bow down to Innaritu first. With The Revenant, he creates a visual masterpiece. Sweeping vistas of snow and mountains and forests and grey skies with a cold, ineffective Sun assault your senses. Long tracking shots that follow fighting Indians and trappers on horseback remind you of Innaritu's masterful craftsmanship. Ryuichi Sakamoto's distinctive sound design keeps you on the edge of your seat. Even in the moments where deCaprio is dreaming, the music is so haunting, it stays with you.

It's time to explain the 'grunts'. Had the cinematography not been so captivating, I would have counted the grunts that pass off for Hugh Glass' s (Leonardo de Caprio) speech. We understand that it is the 1800s and the language must have been crude, but so many grunts? Yes, he is hunting bears, and the bear turns around and attacks him. 

The attack is so brutal, so vehement, even though at the back of your head you know that the bear is special effects, you gasp and look away. You wonder why he doesn't play dead. You wonder where he gets the strength and the viciousness? Were these trappers as savage as the the animals they hunted?

The real account of Hugh Glass comes alive in the movie. We have trappers being chased by Indians and they discover that their best tracker has been injured. They decide to leave food and a couple of people with him. One of them is the scariest person (beside the bear) the filmmaker can dream up. He's rough and crude and unwilling to take care of someone who he dislikes. And that's an understatement. He's so unfeeling and brutish, he kills.

And that's when you realise this incomprehensible man is Tom Hardy. He gives impetus to de Caprio to avenge what is lost. But de Caprio needs to recover his strength. It should have taken him longer, but at two and a half hours, the movie already makes you feel the pain. 

How his need to avenge drives him to finding out where the trappers now are is a journey that is as hellish as the snows are pristine. You stretch secretly and instinctively to make sure your bones aren't frozen in the theater. So powerful is the film that your sense of the comic forgets to count the grunts. You hope that he either gets his revenge or dies. The story flags a bit with repetitive hallucinations and the journey through the snow. But the violence and the gruesome encounters with beast and man and nature keep you staring at the screen.

For emotionally uplifting movies about wilderness treks, watch something else. This movie will put the fear of god into you and you'll think twice about snow-shoe holidays in touristy places too. And you'll look over your shoulder for bears. Even in the city.


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