I’m going to go out on a limb here and be truthful. I didn’t really like The Revenant. A good piece of cinema, sure, but the violence didn’t exactly engage me, and I felt some of it was tasteless.
Take the beginning – some fur trappers are attacked by a band of Native Americans. OK, I can deal with this, because it did happen. But the gratuitous violence was totally unnecessary. By all means, show someone being shot with a bow and arrow or a rifle. It’s hardly adding anything to the story though to see a Native American have their face smashed in with the stock of a rifle. That adds nothing to the story that couldn’t have been done in a more tasteful way.
Then there’s more death. A grizzly bear is killed, and Leonardo DiCaprio is badly wounded. It gets very deep at this point, with people trying to kill Leo, and him being haunted by visions of his dead Native American wife. I did enjoy this part a lot more, but it just felt very, very heavy.
Leo is then nursed back to health by a friendly Native American of the Pawnee Tribe (nothing to do with Pawnee, Indiana of Parks and Recreation fame) who is lynched by French trappers, the head of which is also a rapist. For obvious reasons of taste, I won’t go into detail on the lynching or rape, but although it’s meant to give a sense of hard-hitting realism to the film, to me it just made it even more unappealing. Then, unsurprisingly, there is more death, violence and murder. Then the film ends.
Perhaps my initial statement was harsh. The film itself is good. It’s very well done, and very true to the story of Hugh Glass. But it just isn’t my cup of tea. It seems to have a level of violence that could be easily turned into a horror movie. I don’t doubt that Leo will win an Oscar for it – it’s worthy of one. It just isn’t for me.
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