The film The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, tells the story of the hard times of Americans who mined and melted down furs in the early 19th century. Tensions with the natives often lead to attacks by the Indians, who are sure that the outsiders are superfluous. But here the Redskin tribe is looking for the stolen daughter of the leader, so negotiations are completely excluded.
The main role of Hugh Glass is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays the guide of American hunters. Having lived for a long time side by side with the Indians, Glass is well aware of the local region and the mores of the redskins. At one time he had a wife from their tribe and a joint child. However, after another skirmish with the Americans, his wife died, and he took his son, who was the meaning of his life.
Hugh Glass was in the detachment of Americans for the sake of another income, and his son, as always, was with him. Being attacked by the Indians, the hunters lost most of the detachment. The leader decides to run to the outpost, hiding the furs. Making his way to his own, Glass is attacked by a she-bear, which severely injures him. And here begins the reference to the real story that inspired the director to create The Revenant.
Story from life
There was indeed a prototype of Hugh Glass in American history. As a hunter, he was also attacked by a bear and nearly died. The two volunteers from the detachment remaining with him wait for the death of the hunter and bury him, since his wounds were fatal. However, they decided to catch up with the detachment, leaving their comrade to the mercy of fate. But he survived and was able to get to his own, eventually forgiving his “friends”.
This story is overgrown with legends and conquered the Americans with the fortitude and willpower of the survivor. And this is the main idea of the film, where the hero makes incredible efforts to survive and … take revenge. The fact is that the writers somewhat changed the ending and came up with a reason for revenge.
The three hunters who remained with Glass were also supposed to bury the hero after his death. One of them was his half-breed son from his deceased wife. The second person was Bridger, a young man with moral values. He refused money offered by the head of the detachment for Glass’s future funeral.
However, the prudent and mercantile John Fitzgerald turned out to be the third in their team, who agreed to stay not for the sake of a Christian custom, but to get hold of money. At a critical moment, fearing for his life, he kills Hawk (son) in front of his dying father. This was the additional directorial motivation for the hero to survive for the sake of revenge.
It’s safe to say that The Revenant is an atmospheric film. Firstly, shooting on real terrain, without the use of studio pavilions. Therefore, nature before the viewer appeared here in all its grandeur. Naturalism overflows: the actors work live in 20-degree frost, they walk knee-deep in cold water, and the vegetarian DiCaprio even eats bison liver.
The gray tones of the film are not intimidating at all. Perfect camera work allows the viewer to be present in every moment of filming. Here you really feel the fear when you hear the whistle of Indian fire arrows. You feel the proximity of an angry bear and involuntarily shudder when she tears apart the body of a survivor.
It takes a while for you to understand the whole point of what is happening when Glass climbs inside the corpse of his just-dead horse, because this is the only chance to survive on a freezing night. However, in the morning he touches her, as if saying goodbye and thanking her for the nightly “refuge”. Glass becomes a guide not only because of his good knowledge of the area. He feels the forest, the river, the animals, and he learned this from the Indians.
Another semantic load of the film. When multiple languages are used, there is a sense of how different people are, even through word of mouth. The Indian language, which Glass can also speak, is understandable without translation. The thousand-year-old linguistic wisdom of the natives is very much associated with love and respect for nature.
On the other hand, English is rarely out of place here, as is French. No wonder the protagonist utters only a dozen and a half phrases in the entire film. And most of them are in the language of the Indians.
The meaning of the film “The Revenant”. Real story
The ideas listed here, of course, do not cover the full versatility of the director’s vision. Alejandro Iñárritu pointed out to the viewer many questions that have not lost their relevance even today. The villain and murderer Fitzgerald is unable to come to terms with the lack of money, for the sake of which he is able to compromise with his conscience. Most fearing for his life, he easily kills a young guy.
The greatness of nature and its understanding, life according to conscience or for the sake of money, aggressive campaigns against ethnic Indian tribes, survival in critical situations and an irrepressible desire to go towards one’s goal – these are just a few of the messages from Alejandro Iñárritu. We also add the brilliant play of the actors to this, and the film makes you think about many things, and most importantly, learn to discard the unnecessary for the sake of the main thing.