When all else fails, let bloody revenge fuel you.
Hugh Glass (Leonardio DiCaprio) is a frontiersmen on a fur trading expedition lead by the young but noble Captain Andrew Henry. (Domhnall Gleeson) They start off with about 40 men, then they are attacked by Natives and that number is down to 10. They have to stash their furs and leave. Glass is brutally attacked by a bear on their way back. At first they attempt to carry him, but they cannot do that up the mountains. So Glass's son Hawk, (Forrest Goodluck) and a very sweet and naive Bridger (Will Poulter) offer to stay behind to watch him until they can get more help. Another tracker, the doubtful John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) also stays behind when Henry offers to pay him more than what his furs work. But after some more dramatic events, Fitzgerald betrays Glass and leaves him behind for dead. Glass embraces the dark side and lets his rage flow through him to crawl back to his camp in the worst of conditions.
I've been hyped for this ever since I saw the wonderful trailer and it absolutely lives up to my heightened expectations. Watching Glass crawl around in the snow, the water, the harsh wilderness, the film actually makes you feel cold. Expecting no less from Emmanuel Lubezki, it's shot beautifully. There were a few times his camera tricks made me dizzy, but he makes an impossible situation look kind of beautiful at times, and brutal at others. I'd say this is probably the 2nd best shot film I've seen this year. (Sicario is still first)
Speaking of brutal, this film is certainly that. Since you know the bear attack is coming the tension leading up to it is almost unbearable. (heh) And Judy (the name they gave the CGI bear) looks fantastic. This thing actually fogs up and drools all over the lens at one point. It's just a brilliant piece of VFX. The fights between the frontiersmen and natives were also done very well.
Let's talk about the acting. Surprising absolutely no one, Leonardo DiCaprio is amazing. He makes you feel Glass' pain. The agony is on his face after every move he makes. Even though he doesn't have many lines, he doesn't need them. The physicality makes up for it. If DiCaprio doesn't win this Oscar, well...someone hates him. This is hands down the best performance from an actor I've seen this year. Tom Hardy is also great. Fitzgerald is such an asshole. He's literally introduced to us bitching about something. Hardy plays him very coldly, there's nothing to like about him and that's the way it should be. You can't even muster up the pity that he was half way scalped at one point in his life. Will Poulter surprised me the most. This kid has a lot of range that I never realized before. Bridger is so sweet and he perfectly contracts the massive dick that is Fitzgerald. Gleeson is also good as Captain Henry. He wants the best for his men, but still struggles with making tough decisions at times.
Memorable Quote: "If you have a breath, you fight." - Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio)