The focus of this assignment is The Revenant (2015), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The hero of the movie, the Revenant, is Hugh Glass, who is the lead guide for a band of fur trader. After being mauled in a savage bear attack, his group leaves him behind with three men, Jim Bridge, John Fitzgerald, and Glass’s son. Bridger attacks Glass’s son, stabbing him to death, leaving him in a shallow grave and convincing Fitzgerald that tribal warriors were coming and they needed to abandon Glass.
Last name 2In terms of the Hero’s journey, Glass’s call to adventure occurs when the group must abandon/hide their furs to out distance the tribal warriors, and Glass takes the lead. He suffers from the bear attack and has two helpers, Fitzgerald and his own son. When he sees his son killed and can do nothing to stop it, then is abandoned for dead, is when he endures the death and rebirth portion of the journey. He drags himself through the ice and snow, transforming into something that is pure survival. He encounters another helper, a native healer, who becomes his mentor, and who feeds him and helps him, sheltering him from the storm when Glass seems to succumb to fatigue from his injuries. The mentor gifts Glass with the chance of survival. When Glass wakes again, it is to find that his new helper has been killed, strung up in a tree. He is alone again and gathers his strength, transforming into survival instincts with the focus of reaching the trading post and avenging his son’s murder. He envisions both his dead wife and dead son, both of whom help him to survive in the wilderness. He returns to the camp a hero, and successfully avenges his son. Along Glass’s hero’s journey, the threshold guardian can be seen as the both the wilderness itself as well as the constant threat from the tribal warriors. Glass must outmaneuver the warriors and pass through the obstacles of the harsh winter in order to exact his revenge. This revenge and vengeance can be seen, in part, as the shadow, the darker aspect of Glass’s soul that consumes him after his son is killed. Glass must become his shadow because of the villain and shape shifter, Bridger. Bridger is cunning, shifting roles easily so that he can survive and prosper. He tricks Fitzgerald into leaving Glass, convincing him of the story they have to tell when they reach the trading post.
Glass’s success against Bridger solidifies his role not only as Hero in this story, but as a lightly veiled white hero for the natives during this time, avenging his half Pawnee son, trying to right that injustice.