josh lewis’s review published on Letterboxd:
revenge is bad cuz God or sumthin' guys & trees don't give up so neither will leo cuz nature... is like... inherently violent but also not cuz it's so beautiful but ALSO UGLY ya idk here's some more trees lol.
iñárritu, already well known for mistaking ruthlessly punishing his characters for meaning/depth & explaining very simple, college-level sentiments in the most obvious way imaginable all under the guise of ~Great Important Artistry~, doubles down & winds up channelling more kurt sutter than malick/tarkovsky, reaching peak levels of senseless misery porn. like a first year film student was handed $100 million, essentially.
for a film being marketed as this brutal, messy "not-for-pussies" experience, this has got to be the cleanest anti-revenge revenge picture i've ever seen -- there's zero moral ambiguity going on in this thing, every element being clearly laid out as good/bad so that you're not confused by iñárritu's genius message, if the shallow (albeit well-captured) imagery didn't do it for ya. granted, it was almost more tolerable than Birdman, the pretentious, hamfisted dialogue being replaced by a bunch of moody lubezki compositions & tom hardy mumbling stuff... but then that ending happens. bear sequence is cool tho.