Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews as I go through the process of finishing post and releasing my 12 Westerns in 12 Months during 2020. I am watching these films not from an audience perspective but as a filmmaker, as a student of the genre.
Week Ninety Seven: Man in the Wilderness
This is ten times the film The Revenant is. For more than one reason, this also fictionalized version of the Hugh Glass story towers over the Oscar winner.
Let’s start with the bear attack. With all the CGI power in the world, nothing beats a real wild animal. Even with the combination of a man in a bear suit, the Grizzly scene here is far more breathtaking than the one created decades later. I also love that there is no cocked up revenge story, something unnecessary to this amazing story of survival. Overall, Harris plays the Glass variation well, delivering a physical performance but also a subtle one that has great touches near the end of the film.
I did not care for the flashbacks. It feels like the filmmakers couldn’t resist trying to inject extra meaning into a narrative that really needs nothing else. One day, someone may make a version of the Glass story without Hollywood invention and it will finally do the story justice.
On a final note, I love Huston’s presence in the film, the striking images of hauling the boat, and the stirring final action sequence.
Seen on DVD.