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Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Paul Anderson, Forrest Goodluck, Lukas Haas, Krisotoffer Joner
Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
There are many good things about Iñárritu's Far North western, although it is quite a bit too long. Likewise, Emmanuel Lukezki's photography of Canada's white wilderness is magnificent, but there is an awful lot of it. Red in tooth and claw, the story, supposedly based on truth, centres on a group of fur hunters who are decimated by Canadian Indians.
The stragglers, led by Andrew Henry (Gleeson), try to escape with their pelts, but their scout, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), whose half- Pawnee son Hawk (Goodluck) is part of the group, is attacked and badly mauled by a bear. Half-dead, he's carried on a makeshift travois by the survivors, to the disgust of the mercenary Fitzgerald (Hardy).
Finally, Glass and his son are left in the none-too-tender care of Fitzgerald and young Bridger (Poulter).
It isn't long before Fitzgerald resolves to put an end to this albatross round his neck, killing Hawk, dragging Bridger off and leaving Glass behind.
The rest of this epic-sized film concerns Glass's tortuous attempts to get back to his home fort and exact revenge, in the face of appalling injuries and equally appalling conditions; at one time Glass hides in the corpse of a horse to keep warm. recalling Liam Neeson's subterfuge in Rob Roy. But he's also helped by a friendly Pawnee, who builds him a hut of branches to protect him.
And, naturally, as in all good westerns, there's a showdown at the end of things.
DiCaprio is appropriately battered and beaten in a committed performance (although he does have the help of five stand-ins) while Hardy, with a Texas accent thicker than bear grease, is as hateful as you could wish.
USA/UK/Canada 2015. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Technicolor.
152 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.
Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.
Review date: 10 Jan 2016