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Monday, January 18, 2016

The Revenant (spoilers)

Strictly speaking, a "revenant" is "one who returns".  Most often it is used to mean a person who has returned as a spirit or a ghost.

The Revenant is a Golden-Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated film starring Leo DiCaprio.  It is loosely based on the life of Hugh Glass, an American frontiersman who was mauled by a bear and left for dead, but who managed to survive alone in the wilderness and eventually return home.

The movie is set in Montana and South Dakota (then part of the Louisiana Territory) in 1823.  Glass is leading a party of hunters and trappers when they are attacked by the Arikara.  As they make their way back to the fort, they are further delayed when Glass is attacked and mauled by a bear.  Left for dead, Glass must make his way back through the wilderness without food or weapons.

But who is the revenant?  Is it Glass, or is it the voice of his dead Pawnee wife, guiding him through the wilderness?  The end of the movie leaves the answer ambiguous.  After Glass has returned from the wilderness, he and Captain Henry leave the fort once again to pursue Fitzgerald, the man who killed Glass' son and who abandoned Glass to die.  With Henry and Fitzgerald both dead. the camera focuses on Glass as he watches his wife's spirit walk away ...

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