Dominic Cobb’s review published on Letterboxd:
"My heart bleeds. But revenge is in the creator's hands."
I really wasn't sure that anything could top Mad Max: Fury Road this last year of film. The films that I thought had potential for topping it, specifically Steve Jobs and Room, came very close, scoring five stars out of five from me, but did not surpass it. This was the last remaining film I thought could dethrone it.
And dethrone it, it did. My GOSH. I expected something great, and that's what I got. But my expectations were also exceeded, and I really think that this is an incredibly underrated film despite the praise it's received.
If you haven't heard, though I'm sure you have, The Revenant is based/inspired by true events: frontiersman Hugh Glass was attacked and mauled nearly to death by a grizzly bear. He was left by his company with two men - supposed by historians to be John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger - to watch over him until he died. Supposedly, Fitzgerald left him for dead (though Bridger was reluctant) after he apparently suspected that the savage Arikara indians were soon to attack. Against the odds, Glass crawled his way through the mountains and found his way back to the men who left him for dead. The two men lived.
That's how the true story supposedly goes, according to historians and the book on which the film is loosely based. The film adds a few elements, elements which I believe help the film in its depth and power. I won't specify them, other than the fact that in the film, Glass travels with his half-Pawnee son.
This film is astounding, brutal, intense, honest, overwhelmingly powerful, visceral, raw, and so much better than what it's been called by some, "a simple revenge film". It dives deep into the idea of revenge, what comes of it, and throughout the film shines these small little moments of mercy, that, juxtaposed against this brutality, are brilliantly luminous.
I think it's interesting how certain directors or films are given higher standards or expectations than others. Nolan, for some reason, has the demand placed on him of having his films be scientifically sound and logical, and his films are criticized when they aren't. This film is expected to be more than your average revenge film, although if a revenge film is well done then the critics love it often. This is most certainly well done on a purely technical level, but the critics tend to rage if it doesn't have a deep message. Some didn't seem to find one here, though I certainly did.
Near the end of this film, I was very worried that it would end in simple revenge, and Glass would kill Fitzgerald and that would be it. But it went so far beyond that... without giving spoilers, it certainly leaves its effect, and has such a great and powerful emotion...
The Revenant is my favorite film of 2015. It's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's best, and it's a film that devours its screenplay and becomes something natural, something human, something so absolutely dominating, something so far beyond what I've seen in the cinema recently... Nothing short of superbly astonishing. I can't give this film enough praise, honestly.
My gosh. Watch it, please.