The Revenant

By the time Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)) finished shooting locations for this wilderness-survival drama its budget had more than doubled, to $135 million, but at least the money was spent recording the world instead of creating it with pixels. Adapted from a novel by Michael Punke, it’s the harrowing true story of fur trapper Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a grizzly bear near the Grand River in South Dakota in 1823 but managed to drag himself 200 miles to safety. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Glass, and Tom Hardy is the scheming fellow trapper who foolishly leaves him for dead; they don’t have more than a few dozen lines combined, but words serve little purpose amid the blunt power of the natural settings and the animalistic conflict at the center of the story. Press materials claim this is about “the extraordinary power of the human spirit,” but Iñárritu’s real achievement is how he captures the monumental force of the untamed land.