A Look At The Revenant

High from an Oscar-win, Alejandro González Iñárritu, has embarked on a new kind of film-making adventure. Just as dark as the film, that won for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year, The Revenant, brings to the audience the true story of a vengeful 19th Century fur-trapper. Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an American frontiersman, who has gained fame in the American West because of his wild antics. Born in Pennsylvania, to Irish parents, he was drawn towards the Upper Missouri River, for its naturalistic beauty and its breathtaking wildlife diversity. He is a little bit of a folk hero, who got mauled by a wild grizzly bear, and as a result, he embarked on a cross-country trip.

When Glass responded to an advert put out in a local Missouri newspaper, little did he know what fate had in store for him. He was permitted to join a corps of some 100 men, to cross-country travel across the primary river in the state, because of a fur-trading episode. Hugh is a very hardworking young man, but he is not very eloquent: he often gets wounded, really badly, but accommodates helping others out, when they are in a much less unfortunate position than him. This clash of ignorance/caring works against his character, on more than one occasion, and stops people in their tracks from relating to him, as anything remotely humane or as an independent and ambitious, young individual, with their own priorities in life.

The film is not really about a hunting adventure, as much as it is about betrayal: Hugh is left to die with his injuries, because his “fur trapping team mates” believe that he will not survive the injuries caused by a mother grizzly bear, when Hugh attacks her. Leaving him to die, after partially digging out a grave, interrupted only by the intrusion of other more fearful wild animals, and incorrectly reporting to the media, that Glass has died, they run away. Glass is then left to fend for himself after regaining consciousness, as he tries to dodge unfriendly Indians, wild animals, without any tools to protect himself.

Vengeful and wounded, as he proceeds to head back home, he discovers that the people who left him to die all went ahead and completed the expedition, without him, and landed some of the most covetable top jobs in spaces, such as the United States Army. His anger at betrayal from all corners is hard to fathom, but he manages to restrain it because he wants to look forward to a better future, with other people he has met on his journey, that unfold a much bigger and brighter future for him, than the one he had signed up for in Missouri. The film is on-location at the moment and is expected to continue until mid-2015; Calgary, with its near subzero temperatures has been chosen as the perfect place to shoot a film based in the chaotic backdrop of early 1800s America.

This is a time, that clashes with the dark days of Victorian London! This is because in America, people are too busy exploring their land’s horizons, rather than grappling with slum dwellings en masse, poverty and young men out to prove themselves, and strike it big, professionally, leaving behind what can only mean, the start of something very huge and innovative! Although, the days are still dark, there is a tumultuous atmosphere inbetween Colonialists, the colonised, and advancement of civilisation is relatively slower, than back home in a city that is steaming-ahead: London.


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