Disclaimer: This article contains potential spoilers.
Nothing gets the cash flowing like a revenge movie, especially if the revenge movie is also a DiCaprio movie. The Revenant is the perfect recipe, destined not to fail. It also helps that it has been directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, the spectacular mind behind Oscar favourites like Babel and Birdman.
For anyone who is a fan of Iñárritu’s movies would realise that the man has a penchant for the psychological, the common technique being dramatic. Everything the man makes range from borderline to full fantastical. The Revenant promises to not be very different.
Here are a few things everyone (thanks to the Internet) knows about The Revenant by now: Hugh Glass is mauled by a bear, the movie is a lot like a typical Western movie, just in snow.
But what some of us might not know is that Hugh Glass is not a figment of Iñárritu’s story, he was real. Was the legend as dramatic as Iñárritu’s movie? Maybe. Was he as badass as the Hugh Glass in The Revenant? Yes.
Hugh Glass was an American frontiersman and fur trapper. But that was not what he became popular for. Glass’ story was documented and made into poems and books because of his exceptional – bordering non-human – survival and the story of his retribution.
He was part of General Ashley’s expedition, a group of traders and explorers. Glass set out one fine morning to hunt for food and spotted two grizzly bear cubs. But the mother grizzly bear was around; it charged at him and lacerated and tore his flesh. A severely wounded Glass managed to kill the bear with the help of his fellow traders John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger.
But the mountainside was an impossibly dangerous terrain, not to mention there was an ongoing war between the Native Americans and the British. General Ashley figured that Glass was a dead man and his survival was next to impossible. Moreover, carrying him along would slow down the party. The noble general asked for volunteers who were willing to stay with Glass till he died and bury him in return for a generous sum of money. Fitzgerald and Bridger volunteered.
But they also expected Glass to die at some point. Little did they know that the man would refuse to. Fitzgerald and Bridger decided that they had already earned a good amount of money and they did not want to stay with a dying Glass anyway, so they left him there and took off with his weapons.
Now, against every odd, Glass survived. According to the legend, he crawled and crawled and crawled and then crawled some more to Fort Kiowa. On his way, he ate all sorts of stuff. He also allowed maggots to feed on his wounds to prevent gangrene. All this to track down the men who left him to die.
And track down Fitzgerald and Bridger, he did. Glass crawled and limped more than 400 miles to get back at them. You would be wrong if you thought that. He only wanted his weapons back.
As the legend goes, he found Bridger first and gave him a good, ripe lecture on what he had done. God forbids, he does it again! He then tracked down Fitzgerald. But now Fitzgerald is enlisted in the Army and killing an army man would fetch him a grave punishment, along with a trial for murder. So, Glass let it all go after acquiring his guns.
There is another legend that says that by the time Glass found Fitzgerald, he was so overwhelmed by his physical ordeal that he decided to forgive him.
Going by Iñárritu’s movies, we are willing to bet that he does not settle Glass’ story with an anti-climax.