The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
How to Increase eCommerce Sales with SEO
How to Increase eCommerce Sales with SEO
February 28, 2024

With the development of the online shopping market, SEO has become a crucial factor in driving targeted traffic and increasing sales. Effective...

Film Review: “The Revenant” leaves viewers with feelings of awe

Alejandro Innaritu’s frontier tale exceeded my own steep expectations and has earned its spot in the prestigious pantheon that is Innaritu’s own filmography. 


Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Surely he is one of the greatest filmmakers alive today. With six films in fifteen years, starting with “Amores Perros” in 2000, he has already left his mark upon the world with his spiritual and often surrealistic storytelling. 

His latest piece, “The Revenant,” is a breath of fresh air in a year where I have felt constricted by blockbuster entertainment. 2015 was a record year in Hollywood for those sales numbers films have come to be scored by, largely thanks to “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Even though the latter was actually well made, they both signal the same reality. It appears that American audiences can be brought out of their homes to the theater in mass only with the comfort and ease of digestion that comes along with sci-fi/fantasy franchises. 

Another decade of superheroes and star destroyers is inevitable, because our dollars have given it the green light. My humble suggestion is to spread those dollars elsewhere, namely to films like Innaritu’s. They won’t necessarily make you laugh or feel good at the end, but they provide you with feelings much more profound, feelings that stick. 

I just walked out of “The Revenant” with such a feeling, comparable only to “Birdman” last year. To get the summation out of the way, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as frontiersman Hugh Glass, Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald, and Downhill Gleeson as Captain Andrew Henry. Glass is left to die and his half-Pawnee son is killed by Fitzgerald during a failed fur trapping expedition. Glass then makes a trek towards Fitzgerald to find some kind of spiritual solace and exact justice. For this reason this is the most personal of Innaritu’s films, as he lost a son himself in the mid 1990s. 

I wouldn’t describe DiCaprio as unrecognizable in his role. Rather, his persona seems to have evolved from the wise, tough and skilled man to a man who is all of those things, but equally vulnerable. A person does not find his or herself sleeping in a horse carcass in a blizzard with a dead son and revenge on the mind without exhibiting the broken kind of soul that comes with it.

This film is immensely spiritual, and even though I’m an Atheist I mean that in the best way. Glass’ introspection on his Pawnee wife and son and the conflict between the real Americans and the Americans with guns and Christianity should touch the heartstrings of any citizen here. This film is a harsh reminder that although this country was founded on freedom and honor, it was equally founded by greed, blood and the theft of previously owned land. 

I would not simply describe this film as a revenge story. It is about a broken man searching for redemption and a purpose in life without family and love. Glass’ name for that happens to be revenge. 

I can’t end the review without mentioning the craft of the film, especially to the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It is one of the most beautiful films ever made, and in a way that serves the story and is not empty. I was in awe of the beautiful landscape that is now all but gone, and the pain the film’s hero went through attempting to survive in it. 


Collegian Film Critic Morgan Smith can be reached at or on Twitter@MDSFilms.

View Comments (8)
More to Discover

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (8)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *