A guide in the wilds of the untamed American west is savaged by a bear and left for dead by his murderous comrade, but crawls from his makeshift shallow grave and sets off in bloody-minded pursuit.
The headlines concerning The Revenant obviously centred around Leonardo DiCaprio’s much deserved Oscar for a harrowing performance as the grizzled mountain man who is devastated both physically and emotionally and consumed with vengeance, but the most striking aspect of the film is his surroundings. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular and the themes of the simultaneous beauty and brutality of nature and man’s place within it are stunningly captured; beast preys upon beast while man preys upon man as their harsh environment consumes them all. Gritty realism is the order of the day from the opening scenes with an Indian raid that plays out like Saving Private Ryan with bows and arrows, this is ultimately a story about survival under the most adverse of circumstances.
The film is a little one note and episodic as the serial trials DiCaprio must endure are like wave after wave of misery and hardship, but the beautiful scenery and believable performances make for a striking snapshot of American history.