The Revenant (2015)
"Man against nature" reaches the ultimate boss fight with this bleak, unrelenting and beautifully shot film about real-life fur-trapper Hugh Glass and real-life acting show-off Leonardo DiCaprio. The direction is by Mexican virtuoso Alejandro Iñárritu, and he goes about the job with about the same single-mindedness and stubbornness that Mr. Glass himself ultimately displays. Iñárritu drives his film forward, often with more insistence than storytelling as his protagonist goes from mishap to mishap in the American frontier. Had the film not been completely humourless, it would have been very hard not to find Glass' amount of bad luck comical, which perhaps helps explain why the film is so drained for almost anything that isn't about Leonardo DiCaprio's immense and complete physical performance. That being said, there is a lot of merit in how Iñárritu is able to bring nature, and the interplay between it and Hugh Glass, to the forefront. Rarely on film has mother earth been rendered as more of a force than it is here. It's almost a character in its own right, and it's not the film's least accomplished one either. Because unlike the antagonist Fitzgerald, mother earth both giveth and mother earth taketh. And thank god for that.