Alejandro González Iñárritu did what all film makers inspire to do (at least I hope they do) and that is to improve on his previous work in every way.
Granted you can't really compare this film to Birdman since they are vastly different. Although the same film techniques applied for Birdman are used here and dare I say even superior. The camera work is amazing. Often it feels like the camera is flying and it gives it an extraordinary effect. Then there are several WTF moments that really make you wonder how it was shot and made. One in particular will be memorable since it was unlike I had seen before and quite exhilarating. The Revenant is filled with brilliant powerful scenes that captivate you throughout and very rarely lets up. Maybe towards the end it has the tendency to drag certain sequences too much for it's own good. Then again it did achieve some incredible dramatic tension with very little means so I won't complain about it.
The Revenant is a beautiful film and offers some of the best eye candy you could hope for but at the same time it doesn't mind confronting you with some A level nastiness an harshness. You really have to be prepared for what is coming your way since you will be literally pulled into an adventure of a lifetime. All of what occurs in this film is made believable by the impressive cast. The actors involved were good but Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy were incredible. I think DiCaprio was more so since he had to do the majority non verbally. But whatever emotion he had to express you could see it in his eyes.
A lot of substance is packed into this film often to show us the reality of that time. Some criticism is implied although it's mostly left up to the viewer what they want to do with what they have seen. And in this case I applaud that since it otherwise would detract too much from the viewing experience. It would destroy the magic that is created in this film. But make no mistake the tale that is told here is not new. Far from it. The way it is told and presented is. It's movies like these that make me thoroughly happy and positive about the future of film. The Revenant is proof that you still can be entirely fresh and creative with an old school revenge tale. This is a masterpiece that needs to be seen by many.