Honourable mention : The Revenant – Bear shatters Glass like…
It’s not a death, but it is a stunning scene of violence.
The scene everyone is talking about, in a year filled with great, memorable scenes. Hugh Glass (Leonardo Di Caprio) is viciously mauled by a mother bear after he accidentally stumbled too close to her cubs. The sequence itself is astonishing,, instantly becoming one of the best animal attacks ever filmed, and drags on for an agonisingly long period of time, maintaining a delirious amount of intensity throughout. The bear is fully rendered with startlingly impressive CGI, and as it drags him around the clearing, tearing chunks from his limbs, back, chest, and throat (the worst part for me is when it rips out his right shoulder – fucking OUCH!), your heart is in your mouth and your fingers are squeezing the arm/rest of whoever, or whatever is closest.
Yes, we all know he’s going to survive (there wouldn’t be a movie if he didn’t), so the fact that the film can still conjure such a powerful fear of death is a testament to the sequence’s success. It’s a technical and emotional marvel, and it’s all grounded by an impressively realistic performance from Di Caprio, as well as stunning camera work from Emmanuel Lubezki (it’s shot in a single take). The camera weaves and bobs in a way that would normally be distracting (the bear even interacts with the camera, breathing heavily and fogging the screen up), but it just fucking works because of the sheer confidence in the composition of it all. One of the most impressively and viscerally violent scenes of the year just had to have a mention, even though it doesn’t result in a human death.