In the film Revenant, when mountain man Huge Glass (the real-life man–1783-1833—portrayed in the movie) gets between a sow grizzly and her cubs (biggest no-no in the wildlife world) literally, all hell breaks loose. The ferocious attack was one of the most powerful scenes I have seen in any movie. I really have no idea how they filmed this action where the bear grabs the man, tosses him into the air, and then pounds him into the ground—a full five minutes of fierce ripping, biting, and beating.
It doesn’t look like the filmmakers used a computer to create this action shot and I just find it hard to believe that any stuntman and/or bear trainer would want to be involved in the obvious risks of staging this battle ( I looked up how the bear attack was created and I still don’t understand how they did it). I would describe this film segment as “brutal and gut-wrenching.” This one scene is why I will watch this movie over and over in the future.
For me, this movie hits home because I spent so much of my early days backpacking, fishing, hiking, and living in the Rocky Mountains of the western U.S. Today, this small geographic area is the last remaining habitat available to grizzlies in the U.S. When hiking in this backcountry, you always have a faint sense of uneasiness knowing a bear could easily be right around the next bend in the trail.
Since in the many years of hiking Yellowstone, Glacier, and other wild places in the west, I saw maybe a total of only a dozen grizzlies and not one of them was ever “just around a bend in the trail” maybe a bear confrontation wasn’t all that likely. But there was always that feeling—a slightly spooky feeling that there was something out there that was not afraid of people and would undoubtedly win in any encounter that went wrong.
After a bear “encounter that went wrong,” the movie becomes a story of survival, courage, determination, and revenge. I can’t say much about this without being a spoiler, so I will just add a couple of more observations about this unique movie and move on:
—Wear a heavy sweater. I have never seen a movie that gave me the shivers more than Revenant. The film is shot totally in the winter and every scene seems to be taken in the purple haze of dawn or dusk when the mountain country at its coldest. The characters seem to spend an enormous amount of time wading in small, almost frozen streams that wander through the snowfields or shooting down a river sans any type of boat with only wet, soggy animal skins covering their bodies. When they do finally exit the water, it is by crawling onto a nice, warm bank of snow. And then the wind begins to blow.
—The mountain scenery is one of the best things about this movie—credits include British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Arizona, Argentina, and Mexico.
—As a GEEZER, if you find it difficult to get down on your hands and knees, you’ll appreciate watching someone drag himself on his belly over 200 miles of snow, ice, and rock.
—Know going in that “revenant” means “someone who returns from the dead.”
—Not for the squeamish—let’s see: horrible wounds, slicing arrows, lots of grotesque bodies, horse guts, and a whole lot of people in serious pain.
—Film is mostly visual (fantastically visual). Not much dialogue and for someone who always needs captions and doesn’t get them in the theaters, this makes for a great movie. For example, there is one scene where Glass is cleaning up after his ordeal in the wilderness and is perched over a boiling tub of water hung over a wood fire. As he washes his filthy, tore up face and straggly hair, you see the steam mix with the freezing cold air and you just feel the relief of the hot water on his body. Much of the film is like this.
—Leonardo DiCaprio has become the number one actor on the screen today. By just changing his wardrobe he becomes a Wall Street broker, a lover on the Titanic, an astronaut stranded on a distant planet, and someone (wearing nothing but a costume of knotted hair, blood, and the hide of a buffalo) who wrestles grizzly bears and wins. Everything he stars in is one of a kind and the best entertainment you’re going to find.
—I don’t often let many new movies onto my list of 10 best, but Revenant has made my list—goodbye “Paint Your Wagon.”
—Best to see on the big screen.
Reveant was a great experience and is well worth seeing.