Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 26th February, 2016
Time : 156 minutes
Director, Writer : Alejandro G Inarritu; Co-Writer : Mark L Smith (based in part on the novel by Michael Punke); Music : Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Starring : Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck
In a nutshell, Jaako raakhe saaiyan, maar sake na koi…
There is nothing much, from a storyline pov, to distinguish this film from a hundred Hindi film revenge plots that have come before this. Yes, it’s gritty, more real, less melodrama – but from a basic story, it’s no different, apart from being excruciatingly slower and far less entertaining.
In the era when Indian tribes still roamed free (and hadn’t yet been butchered by the settlers), Leo DiCaprio works as a guide / tracker for the American’s, who’re out in the cold and wilderness, seeking pelts / trading. Not much is known about his past apart from the fact that he’d lived with some Indians before, had married one of them, lost her (to soldiers) and has a son, Forrest, who accompanies him everywhere.
When their group, led by Domhnall, is attacked by a tribe and flee – they must find their way back through dangerous territory that only he knows. Not the entire group is in agreement on taking that particular route (land vs water), most notably Tom Hardy, who’s quite voluble in his criticism. However, when, in a freak accident, Leo is mauled by a giant grizzly, all equations change and he finds himself, his son, and another boy-trader, Will Poulter, at the mercy of Tom
It’s quite gory, bloody and violent – every blow, every wound is shown in vivid detail. Also the landscape, snow-bound, cold, desolate is beautiful but bleak, almost behaving as another character in the storyline. Leonardo acts very well – not an expression out of place – and is quite convincing as a man preoccupied first with getting better and then consumed by revenge.
It’s not a film for everyone – there is a point or two made somewhere, especially via the Indians who flit in and out of the story – but you don’t know enough about Leo’s character to be cheering for his survival. And without that emotional attachment, the film is like the weather it’s set in – very cold, very bleak.