Who will like this film:
- Fans of Leonardo di Caprio
- Fans of suffering acting
- Fans of Leonardo di Caprio doing suffering acting for two hours, where every scene screams “give me an Oscar!”
- People who like trees
- People who like scenery
- People who like scenery with lots of trees. And snow.
Who’s less likely to like this film:
- Animal lovers
- The French
- The squemish
(WARNING – SPOILERS FOLLOW)
There are a lot of impressive sequences, particularly the opening attack by the Arikara, and the bear scene, and the sense of “man against nature” as well as “man against man” is visceral.
But too much of the film feels like scenery porn: “Phwoar, look at those mountains, eh? How about that for a vista!” Like the lingering shots of lines of dwarves and hobbits framed against the New Zealand skyline in the Lord Of The Rings films, only here it’s all rivers and mountains and trees and snow and “look how spectacular it all is”.
And there’s a sense that the writers got lost in a brainstorming session somewhere and forgot to filter the results: “What else can we get Leo to do? He’s fought a (CGI) bear, watched his son killed, been frozen, been starved, swum in an icy river…. now let’s have him ride off a cliff, then climb inside a horse, eat raw meat….and then in the fight at the end we could (redacted for spoiler reasons).” It’s relentless, and slightly laughable – it may be based on a Hugh Glass’s memoir (which I haven’t read), but the way the film lays out the sequence of pitfalls and disasters feels more inspired by video games – “OK, you survived that, now on to the next level.”
The good scenes are very good, and there’s a sense of danger and threat through much of the film, but it felt like a long couple of hours and a less rewarding experience than I’d hoped for.