I am an ardent fan of the cinematic arts. Although I have certain genre preferences, I don’t let that stifle my curiosity and close myself to different flavors of entertainment. That said...I am a huge fan of science fiction, super hero and action movies! Please visit my other blog The Boxed Office for reviews, exclusively, on these types of movies.
What I can say about Leonardo DiCaprio that hasn't already been said? He has been nominated for and won nearly every award there is…because he is among the best at what he does. This film is new ground for him as it is his first role where the bulk of it is done without speaking. The fact that Leo has won Best Actor for a role he hardly spoke in, speaks volumes about his ability to convey emotion and connect with the audience with his craft.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tom Hardy is an excellent actor that always delivers great performance. This holds true in this film as Hardy is excellent as John Fitzgerald, a trapper that kills the son of Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) and is generally a guy hardened by a hard life…that gets harder with each bad decision he makes.
Set in the 1800’s, the American frontier is a dangerous place to be. Beset by Native Americans, the harsh terrain, and wild animals, being a trapper is not a profession for the weak.
Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) is certainly not weak and is the expert guide for an expedition to bring furs back for trade. Having raised his half Native American son by himself after his wife is killed, Glass is no stranger to hardship and loss.
Things take a turn for the worst when, after being attacked by Arikara warriors and on the run, Glass is mauled by a bear. Thinking he will not survive the trip home Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson…from one of my all-time favorite films) asks for volunteers to stay with Glass and give him a proper burial after he passes.
Fitzgerald is one of those willing to stay but during the course of the agreed upon task, Fitzgerald decides to speed the process up for Glass, but is interrupted by his son Hawk. In the ensuing argument….Hawk is killed, and what happens next can only be described as one of the most incredible stories ever told.
From the very beginning this film is incredible as it sets a tone of unrelenting danger and never ceases the assault.
Even though the film takes some rather large liberties as it departs from the facts of the true events it is based on, the story is still an incredible one and the delivery by the cast coupled with the cinematography and special effects kept me glued to the screen.
Everyone talks about the bear scene, and with good reason. I will just say that I’m a person that can stomach a lot of gore, but the realness of the scene and the knowledge I have about what a bear can really do to a person, had me cringing at the thought that Hugh Glass really endured such a thing.
I was very impressed with the decision to use First Nation people in this film. Too many times it seems ethnic people are passed over for roles depicting their ethnicity. Kudos to Duane Howard and Melaw Nakehk’o on their introduction to film and delivering great performances.
This film deserved all the awards and accolades it has gotten…and will now get one more as it was certainly my cup of tea, easily enduring four out of five cinnamon sticks.
Rating 4/ 5