Willpower – The Revenant (movie)

*Spoiler Alert*

Wow. I recently watched The Revenant and it honestly blew my mind. Aside from the fantastic cinematography and acting led by Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, the plot itself (which was apparently based on the 2002 novel, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke) is captivating.

In summary, the plot centers around a group of hunters/frontiersmen that are hunting for pelts in the unsettled wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase circa 1823. There is extreme hostility between the Native American tribes and the frontiersmen, and the movie begins with an attack on the hunters by the Arikara tribe in which a majority of the group is killed. The handful of survivors escape on a raft, in which Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson), Hugh Glass (Leo DiCaprio), Glass’s son, Hawk, and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) are a part of. While making the journey back to their base with the pelts they were able to salvage, Hugh Glass wanders off and is attacked by a grizzly bear. Although he ultimately shoots the bear and kills it with his knife, Glass nearly dies. The group finds him, but he’s severely injured to the point where he can’t move or speak. The group attempts to carry him on a makeshift stretcher but eventually realizes that the rest of the journey will be impossible if they continue with Glass.

Captain Andrew Henry offers a reward for those that stay behind and tend to Glass, in which Hawk (Glass’s son), another boy, and John Fitzgerald volunteer. As time passes, Fitzgerald decides to strangle Glass, but Hawk returns just in time to stop him. Fitzgerald ends up killing Hawk in front of his father’s eyes, buries Hugh Glass’s living body in a man-made ditch, and deceives the other boy into returning back to the base with him. Fueled by anger and revenge, Glass crawls out of this grave, rehabilitates himself enough to walk with a cane, treks through rivers/mountains, does everything he can to survive along the way (falls down a waterfall and sleeps in a horse’s carcass to prevent himself from freezing to death) and manages to make his way back to the base and ultimately kill Fitzgerald.

What the fuck. The lengths Hugh Glass went through just to SURVIVE in order to reach the man who killed his son was beyond comprehension. But this is the ultimate testament to the power of the human will. He wasn’t afraid of death, and he was willing to die in order to reach his goal of revenge. At one point he even said, “I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’d done it already.” Yeah, it’s just a movie, but there are countless feats of willpower in human history on this magnitude. From similar survival stories of people that endure to reunite with family members, to disabled/handicapped individuals that overcome their limitations to break world records. I always half-jokingly tell my friends this, but everything really is in the mind. One of the greatest human strengths is the power of the human will, and it has the ability to remove our preconceived limitations that we initially put on ourselves. Hugh Glass was even able to dance around with death several times, when he could have easily just given up right there and end his suffering.

This conclusion may be a stretch, but I think we need to have a similar level of desire toward our dreams/goals. Imagine if we had the same amount of willpower/desire toward our dreams as Hugh Glass did. It would almost seem inevitable. At the end of the movie, I kept thinking of Eric Thomas’s Secrets to Success speech in which he said,

When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful

I was inspired and motivated after watching The Revenant and I think that’s why I loved the movie so much. It gave me, and I’m sure other viewers, a glimpse into what we as humans can accomplish when our desire to achieve a goal is so powerful that we’re willing to die to reach it. How bad do you want it?