Chase McNaughton’s review published on Letterboxd:
IT’S STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE... SO WHAT?
You can say that it’s just a simple revenge story, I won’t argue... But Alejandro Iñárritu did not write this for the story. He wanted a brutally immersive experience of what it takes to fight and survive in the most terrible conditions. Providing more story, would have deteriorated from Iñárritu‘s main focus of the external struggle between man and nature. There’s still enough story and character to get you through the journey fine, but what makes this movie immersive is something that only Iñárritu‘s directing, Lubezki’s cinematography, and DiCaprio’s acting can accomplish together. While a film’s story is the most effective way to entertain and engulf your audience, it does not have to be the only way. We can let a film’s spectacle carry a movie as long as it keeps us invested and serves its purpose to the experience.