Some gushy thoughts on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s THE REVENANT

I can’t stop thinking about The Revenant, and director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also made Birdman. These are so easily the best two films of the past two–or even three–years, maybe even further back. They share many obvious similarities, yet they’re so, so different. I’m genuinely sad to up-end Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina as my year’s finest films (both of which share actors with The Revenant), but when a true champion comes along, you have to bow. I’m so excited to see further Iñárritu projects. His thick, almost viscous use of symbolism in each frame, and the deeply-ambiguous interpretations of what might actually be going on in any given scene are wonderfully welcome departures from safe film-making. The use of flowing water, low-angled, filtered sunlight, swaying trees, wind, snow, avalanches, blood, graves, wombs, the muddy lines between the good and the bad (hint: this is no Cowboy vs Indian tale; every one, every nation, every tribe, is complicit in perpetrating the evil that can grip humanity), and Iñárritu’s petering interest, as the film closes, in defining for the audience the morality of revenge (yet he doesn’t advance a nihilistic conclusion, either–quite the opposite), all serve to utterly haunt me days after leaving the theater. I simply MUST see this movie again, to pry into these scenes and the imagery, and to better formulate my own interpretation of the film. I’ve already ranted about the grizzly bear scene, so I won’t add more on that here. One thing I’ll say now, which strikes me as probably coincidence–but I can’t put intentionality past a director so obviously, madly genius at story-telling–is that I’m intrigued with how similar the ‘dead horse scene’ is with an iconic moment on Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back. With a new Star Wars film showing across the hall in seven different theaters while I was watching The Revenant, this “shot across the bow” of traditional, safe film-making strikes me as tantalizingly intentional. But that’s the glory of Iñárritu: he won’t ever tell us exactly what he’s thinking. We have to figure it out on our own. This movie truly makes my brain hurt. I love it when a film does that. And with the exception of Birdman, the last commercially-successful film I can think of that achieved such notoriety for me was 2007’s No Country for Old Men. As I did with The Revenant, I rushed home the night I saw that film and confidently declared it the year’s winner for Best Picture, some 10 months before the award was actually announced. I rarely do this. But I’ll do it again, here. No film in the past few years comes close to succeeding with such high ambitions as does The Revenant. It would be a scandal for this masterwork to fall short of 2015’s Best Picture and Director award. Alejandro González Iñárritu genuinely deserves a double crown–for the second time in two years.

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One Response to “Some gushy thoughts on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s THE REVENANT”

  1. hey, excellent blog I’m a prepper from Belgium .

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