Alejandro G. Iñárritu shook up the film world from the inside out with the phenomanally weird Birdman, but his frosty epic The Revenant could possibly be the best film released this decade.
At two and a half hours, it's a tad on the long side, but the opening 30 minutes alone are so gripping and grab-your-seat thrilling that even if the film ended right there and then I would still praise its immensity for as long as I have a breath in my body. The grizzly bear scene is more gruesome than most horror films, yet the film has been rated a 15 certificate. A fucking 15 and you see a grizzly bear rip the guy to pieces and rag him around like a doll in staggeringly graphic detail.
It is breathtakingly beautiful. Just astonishingly gorgeous. It really showcases the magnificence of nature at its purest state, but I feel sorry for the poor fuckers involved in the treacherous pursuit because that long ass winter looks like what Winterfell has been fearing all this time. Iñárritu proves himself a master of manipulating light to stimulate emotion, unusually framing the historical Western like a Japanese martial arts film, and his eye for aesthetic is more akin to the legendary Romanticist landscape painters than it is to any film director working today. Regardless of the unsettled wilderness of the Montana and South Dakota location, I left the cinema contemplating packing up my entire life and moving to the mountains because I would never tire of looking at that view.
Leonardo DiCaprio is exceptional as experienced hunter Hugh Glass, yes, but let's talk about Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald. He's received a Best Supporting Actor nomination but his screen time and performance is more deserving of the top award alongside DiCaprio, because he is outstanding with his deep Southern accent sounding like Kings of Leon when they were still wee and fresh on the scene. Domhnall Gleeson has been unfairly shunned by the critics, because he too brings a rigour and aggression to his character that is an obvious reflection on the intensity of the narrative and the filming process itself.
Good lord. I'm struggling for the appropriate words to convey how incredible this film is. Just go out and see it; you won't regret it.