EXCLUSIVE: The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s brutal tale of survival and revenge, is of course gorgeous, but it’s also a constantly tense and terrifying character study, helped along by the script Gonzalez Iñárritu co-wrote with Mark L. Smith based in part on the novel by Michael Punke. In this new featurette released by Fox, the director/co-writer talks about the story, which he compares to the works of Jack London.

“It’s beautifully savage, horrendously poetic, and intimate and epic at the same time,” he says, going on to discuss how he and Smith wanted to convey the intense, physical ordeals that happen to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass while also capturing the character’s spiritual nature.

There’s much more of course. Check out the video above.