Blog Post By, Emily Strachan Revenant, a noun: refers to a person who has returned, likely from the dead…
It’s not a word you hear often and I’d never heard it used until I went to see the buzzed about film, The Revenant, last weekend. Right before the film began I googled the definition…and something about definition stayed with me as I watched the film and then discussed it later with friends.
I am not a particularly religious person and I don’t have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to discussing biblical texts…but as the film played out I made connections in my mind between the film and the Bible. Now, the majority of the movie is based on a true events, but there seems to be a Biblical theme present. Perhaps these apparent parallels are insignificant, if not entirely fabricated by my imagination…but heres something to think about…
The main character, Hugh, is a frontiersman out on a fur trapping expedition. Hugh is mauled by a bear and then left to die when his two companions leave him in the wilderness. The story then follows Hugh’s remarkable journey as he “comes back to life” and finds his way back to the nearest outpost.
I propose that Hugh, is in some ways a representation of Jesus. In Christianity, Jesus dies for humanity and then rises from the dead…in other words returns from the dead. Hugh, aka “The Revenant” comes back from a state of near death.
Additionally, Hugh, like Jesus, strives to bring peace to mankind in severals ways. First, he rescues a Native American woman while she is being raped by a Frenchman. Second, he seeks revenge over the man who killed his son…essentially righting a wrong.
Even the image of Hugh resembles a common icon of Jesus. Hugh has a long beard and walks with a “mast” of sorts (because he broke his legs in the bear attack). His clothing is ragged. His exterior is tough and intimidating and yet through his interactions, Hugh is a leader…in his family and in the fur trapping group. When his son is sad Hugh offers Native American inspirational words as a form of comfort. Hugh knows the earth well and guides his fellows frontiersman early on in the film.
Hugh is the ultimate protagonist. He is wise and tenacious. He is tough but also comforting. There may be no intentional Biblical parallel in this film, but for me, Hugh is like Jesus.