This is one of those movies where I can barely reveal anything about the plot. What I can say is that this film has incredible cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) of the 1800’s vast American wilderness, and I anticipate that Lubezki will win the AW.
Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) are part of a group of fur trappers. Suddenly (for reasons revealed later in the film), the band is viciously attacked by Native Americans. Many men in the expedition are killed, but a handful survive, including Glass and Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald wants to travel back to their fort with the pelts, but Glass, who is trusted by Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson), prevails on the Captain to return without the pelts in order to escape capture by the fast-pursuing Native Americans. (It’s been so cold lately, I wish I had one of those pelts!) Fitzgerald doesn’t trust or like Glass, and the feeling is mutual.
While separated from the group, Glass is mortally wounded. Subsequently, he is left for dead by Fitzgerald. Miraculously, Glass survives and then seeks out warranted revenge on Fitzgerald. Most of the film involves Glass’ arduous trek from his not-so-final resting place back to the fort. Glass faces numerous dangers and has some very interesting encounters with others along the way.
The film has much to recommend it, including an AWW performance by DiCaprio (and another excellent one by Hardy), as well as interesting and evocative symbolism. It is an emotionally-intense experience, but, at 2 hours 36 minutes, it is 30 minutes too long.
The film just won the Golden Globes Best Picture for a Drama Award, but I don’t think I would put it in my top 10 due to its excessive length. Alejandro Iñárritu (Director/Co-Writer) is very talented, but, like Quentin Tarantino, he falls in love with his footage and can’t bring himself to cut the non-essential scenes, to the film’s detriment. Despite it’s excessive length, however, it’s still a very good and entertaining movie which must be seen on the BS to do it justice.