Warning: spoilers for The Revenant ahead!
1. Tom Hardy
I am sure a lot of people think this list is blasphemous because Leonardo DiCaprio is not a reason why The Revenant was remarkable. Don´t get me wrong, I think he did a great job. However, his performance was not exceptional to me. That was partly due to the nature of the character, but I do not think he had much to work with. He had limited opportunities to stand out with little dialogue and the withered condition of his character. Tom Hardy, on the other hand, did so much with his role as John Fitzgerald. With more dialogue, tougher decisions to make, and an ultimate betrayal, Tom Hardy had an amazing performance in this role. His delivery was amazing, especially his accent. He also did an incredible job of showing us the transition from frustrating team member to straight villain. His character was truly frightening and convincing, and every scene he was in was truly riveting.
2. The cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki did an amazing job with the shots in this film. There were so many shots that contributed to the greatness of this film. One that comes to mind is the opening fight scene between the Arikara and the party of trappers. Part of the reason that this scene was so exciting was the way the camera kept spinning around to reveal a different character or a flying arrow. Another scene displaying the amazing cinematography was when Hugh Glass stole the horse from French pelt traders and he fell of the cliff. The way that he was filmed flying off the cliff made my heart jump and it made it all the more terrifying.
3. The score
This is admittedly going to be hard to articulate because I am not musical. Normally, the scores of movies all sound the same to me, so the fact that this one stands out says something. I believe it was so extraordinary because the score was non-traditional. It is repetitive and the same notes could be heard throughout the film. It created such an eerie sound, while still being earthy. Also, the same notes contributed to the upbeat scenes as much as they did to the suspenseful ones.
4. The lighting
The fact it was only shot in natural lighting makes this film even more impressive. The natural lighting enhanced my viewing experience and made it seem all the more real. This made the production process much longer, but I believe that it was worth it because it made the movie better and will help it cement its place in film history. It also made for some incredible shots that were used as a transition between scenes. They were amazing. I have included some shots from the movie for your viewing pleasure :)