Monday, April 25, 2016

PFD Movie Review -- The Revenant

I was going to go watch this in the theater, and things happened so that was not an option.  I bought it on DVD and watched it last night. 

Any lessons in prudence to be taken from the movie?  Fire will keep you alive.  Cutting tools are really nice to have.  Glass' fork/striker is a good example of a multi-tool. 

Don't count on surviving if you are as badly chewed up and broke as Glass was.  No one is that tough, plus infection would be almost certain.  Perhaps hatred and vengeance are better than penicillin.  

From a purely artistic point of view, The Revenant has a better look than Jeremiah Johnson.  In some aspects, it is probably more "authentic" than the older movie.  The actors were well trained in handling period weapons.  DiCaprio, while an obnoxious and pretentious little twit -- not unlike Robert Redford, looked the part much more than Redford and is probably a better actor.  Still, I'll watch Jeremiah Johnson five times for every time I watch The Revenant.  It is not a bad movie, but it is hardly a great movie.  Hardy as the evil antagonist was unimpressive for me.  The actor who played Jim Bridger was a placeholder. 

The story of Hugh Glass, as far as the reliable sources can tell us, was mainly about his desire to get his Pennsylvania rifle back.  That would have been a better motivation for some of us.  I think there are a couple of generations who would not understand what it is to have only a few possessions and to equate wealth with one of those possessions.  A highly prized, handcrafted, state-of-the-art rifle was, for a mountain man like Glass, more than a house would be to us.  The closest equivalent might be losing the family farm.  His identity as well as his livelihood was tied up in it.

Given the historical deviation, it would have been a better movie if the characters had been renamed.  Nothing would have been lost, and some of us would have been less distracted by certain scenes and subplots.  I could have done without the Native American family-values political correctness thing.  It does have some good points.  The opening scene is impressive.  It may be the best part of the movie.  The bear attack is also good.  Because of the cinematography and visual power of the film, I would give it three stars out of four.

Putting aside the ridiculous level of damage to Glass' body from the grizzly attack along with subsequent mishaps, he survived because he could make fire, because water was plentiful and readily available, because of his knowledge, and his willingness to eat some rough stuff.  Hanging fire-making materials and some kind of cutting tool around your neck is one way to do it.  Having a metal container of some kind is good, too.  You can have more stuff in your pack or possibles bag, but some essentials attached securely to your person could be the difference between life and death.  


  1. Thanks for that excellent review, Dwayne!
    I haven't watched this one yet, but it sounds like it's worth a looksee. :)

    I have seen Jeremiah Johnson, and it was a good film, even with Redford in it.
    The Edge with Anthony Hopkins was a very good film about survival, I thought. Very entertaining as well as pretty accurate.

  2. Thanks for the review Mush. All I have been hearing is how terrible it was but it was from city slickers. You mention aspects of the film that are relevant to my interests. I might give it a look see.