The Revenant (2015)

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A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. (IMDb)
An immaculate cinematic experience; gorgeous forested landscapes and their well-worn inhabitants are captured in spectacular natural light and with as much gritty detail as breathtaking breadth. Swelling strings and impeccable action-camerawork add further flair. DiCaprio’s committed turn drives forward a brutal and bloody survival/revenge plot that fits its severe setting like a glove with its stark visceral simplicity, while Hardy and co. offer strong support in their own secondary narrative.
9/10 (Amazing)

Shutter Island (2010)

A U.S Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. (IMDb)
The chilling Alcatraz-like island setting here is masterfully portrayed, thanks to stunning cinematography and a haunting score, and the three leading males are all superb in their respective roles, giving attention to every tic and syllable. The story gets more complex and intriguing with each scene; just when you think you have a handle on it, a new twist or layer is added, leading to an eventual ending that’s certainly satisfying, if not a little too easy. A suspenseful psychological mystery.
8.5/10 (Amazing)

Django Unchained (2012)

Brutal, darkly humorous, and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. Wonderfully gritty Western-style cinematography accentuated by splashes of colour sets the backdrop for a set of great performances: Foxx and Waltz as a uniquely fun bounty hunter buddy duo, and DiCaprio as a wickedly entertaining plantation owner. Django’s quiet personal turmoil that comes to a boil in the story’s climax adds an emotional element to all the others, topping off what is a fantastically flavourful film.
8.5/10 (Amazing)