Revenge is one of the oldest motivations in the book. Probably the first caveman exacted revenge on the second for stealing one of his sharpened rocks.
The murder of your child is perhaps one of the best reasons to exact revenge.
Face it, if it happens your not going to be best pleased. Indeed what it happens to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Glass, in ‘The Revenant’ he pursues the perpetrator, the partially scalped Fitzgerald played by Tom Hardy with the normal about of threat and menace he brings to many of his screen performances (it’s hard to see Tom Hardy starring in a slapstick romp with Adam Sandler)
Glass pursues Fitzgerald across the God forsaken wilds of America’s new frontier, despite being savaged by a bear, a scene that was convincing enough to illicit gasps from the audience I watched it with. Along the way he encounters savage cruelty and becomes more and more like the animals that make up this desolate world. He tears at raw meat and eats grass. At one point he even guts a dead horse then gets inside it for warmth. I’d say you’d have to be pretty cold to do that.
Along the way he remembers his dead Indian wife massacred by white men just like Fitzgerald, cruel racist and cynical.
Yet like Staff Sergeant Barnes and Ellias in Platoon they are flip sides of the same coin. They are men who know exactly what it takes to survive in a brutal world. Only one of them also understands that compassion and empathy are two things you must save to make the world worth living in.
The end scene when the two men confront other is as vicious a fight scene as you’ll see on the screen and fits the overall savagery of the world it takes place in.
All the way through there are questions about God. To Fitzgerald and his father God is merely that which you need to survive the wilderness like a squirrel you shoot to get meat. While to Glass it is the Native American tribe his wife and son were spawned from. People who have reference for nature in all its viciousness.
To quote Night of the Hunter this is a ‘hard world for little things’ but a brilliantly imagined one. Making ‘The Revenant’ a film event that is heaven for movie buffs.