- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s triple Academy Award-winning testament to one man’s extreme and visceral quest for revenge gives home theater viewers a potent look at the unconquered American frontier in The Revenant (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, rated R, $39.99, 156 minutes).

Adapted from Michael Punke’s novel about the survival of fur trapper Hugh Glass stuck in the Dakotas’ wilderness in 1820, the historical drama explores what happens when Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is abandoned by an expedition after an encounter with a bear.

Gravely injured and left for dead, he must fight Mother Nature and hostile Arikara Indians along a 200-mile trek back to a fort to ultimately confront John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), the man who left him and murdered his son.

And for those faint of heart, the famed bear-mauling scene was as vicious as expected when considering a mother was protecting her cubs. However, Glass‘ escalation of the event was the epic stupidity that ultimately set him on a journey of pain and bloody vengeance.

Although Mr. DiCaprio finally won a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar for his work, Thomas Hardy gave him plenty of inspiration with a performance that often eclipses the award-winner’s efforts.

His crafting of the grizzled, greedy and abhorrent racist made my skin crawl, and the final confrontation with Glass is one of the more nail-biting scenes in recent movie history.

The digital transfer gorgeously exposes the filmmaking strategies, keen eyes and patience of Mr. Inarritu and his, also Oscar-winning, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.

Between the collection of single-take camera shots to impress cinema connoisseurs, the celebration of panoramic wilderness vistas and the pair’s obsession with capturing treetops at their most calm and distressed, it’s one of the more eye-popping experiences for a home theater owner in recent years.

I can’t imagine how impressive the 4k UHD version of the release might look like an 80-inch-plus, high-end screen.

Unfortunately, the Blu-ray disc offers very little extras to appreciate after the main event.

Besides an image gallery, viewers only get the previously released, YouTube introspective documentary “A World Unseen” that provides more of a soapbox for the director and actors rather than an insightful look at a fairly complicated and exhausting filmmaking effort.

Interviews feature Mr. Inarritu; Mr. DiCaprio (who is quick to spout his environmental agenda); Forrest Goodluck (who portrayed Glass‘ half-breed son Hawk); a wilderness adviser; a costume designer; Indian elders and some of the Indian actors.

Discussions often veer off from the film and onto man’s attacks on his Earth, the plight of the American Indian or specifically explaining that an animal species was almost wiped out when frontiersmen decided wearing a beaver skin cap was hip in the 1800s.

Although a serious discussion on the fate of the planet is certainly important, I would have preferred more words on crafting The Revenant,” the effects used on the bear mauling sequence and the real-versus-historical-life of Mr. Glass. I didn’t need a lecture.

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