The Revenant (2015) Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu (15)

From the opening wide angle shots of woodland basked in sunlight in the Louisiana Purchase, where fur trappers stalk and hunt through the woods, followed quickly by a violent ambush by Arikara Native Americans where arrows fly at you and the camera pans up as the danger jumps out the tree tops, you know The Revenant is going to be AWESOME. This is a movie that will have film lovers yelping, lapping up the glorious cinematography with moments that will make your jaw drop. We don't often cry out in the cinema at Screen Scenes, but this happened twice in The Revenant. Number one - the bear attack. Number two - guess! (it involves another animal).
Ahhhh, the infamous bear attack. There's been much online chatter about it, and it's true that Leonardo DiCaprio's hero Hugh Glass does get pretty intimate with the CGI creature (it's not real - if it was, it'd deserve Best Actor...or it Actress?) but THAT THING doesn't happen. Thankfully. What does occur will have you cowering and squealing. It's really gnarly. Youchhhhhhhhh.
Miraciously, Glass survives the attack but he's got a lot more to worry about. Namely Tom Hardy. Hardy's John Fitzgerald wants to kill Glass to put him out of his misery and hurry up the trip home with the pelts, but Domhnall Gleeson's Andrew Henry - in charge of the hunting party - offers his men a payment to stay behind with Glass until he dies and to give him a proper burial. Fitzgerald reluctantly agrees - KERCHING $$$ - along with Glass's half-native son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter). Some awful things happen, and it then turns into a fight for survival and revenge for Glass.
Whilst Leo is really put through it on what even Bear Grylls would constitute a bad time outdoors, is his performance really Oscar worthy? He fights against everything thrown at him and carries the movie with little dialogue for his character, but one could argue he deserved it more for the blinder he played in The Wolf of Wall Street. Just because it's a hard shoot, the awards aren't given out for endurance. But director Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki deserve everything if it comes their way as The Revenant is such a thing of beauty. The shots are staggering - from the deer crossing the river, to the wolves attacking the bison, through to a aerial shot of the wilderness; it will leave you mesmirised. .
There's one amazing shot of Leo wrapped in fur, catching a fish in the river with his bare hands and chewing into it, where he becomes the bear. The Revanant shows no difference between the fur hunters, the bear, the wolves, the birds of prey. Everything knows its place in the world. Everything hunts. Everything is hunted. And it will always continue to be that way.
5/5 massive bear hugs