Apocalypto (18)

Film

Drama

migrate.20686.jpg

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Tue Jan 2 2007

It never rains but it pours. Your village pillaged and what’s left of your family left down a hole, you’re herded through the jungle in abject, agonising bondage to arrive, barely standing or sane, in a city of death where children play in shit. Before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’, you’re splayed on a bloody rock atop a ziggurat, limbs pulled taut by men with big knives as the crowd raves below. And, without giving away too much about the rest of Jaguar Paw’s day, let’s just say that isn’t the worst of it. Who’d be a Late Postclassic Mayan, eh?

The last film Mel Gibson directed was set in an alienatingly ancient society, performed in a fossilised language and sodden with sacrificial blood, and he seems to reckon the formula ain’t broke. Like ‘The Passion of the Christ’, and its predecessor, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Apocalypto’ is a period piece on a self-consciously epic scale, in which the social wrenches of historical transition – essentially the suppression of an idyllic (rural) community by an all-powerful but decadent (city) empire – are translated into physical trauma, visited with near-rapturous detail on the body. ‘Apocalypto’ may or may not be a credible vision of Mesoamerican life 500 years ago – and plenty of academics and indigenous Americans say not – but it’s undoubtedly another Mel Gibson film about people being tortured to death.

The film’s opening shots – forest floor, foliage, the noise of birds and insects – call to mind ‘The New World’, Terrence Malick’s sublime, calm tragedy about similar subject matter. Then a tapir bursts through the brush, is speared by spring-mounted spikes and has its organs dished out one by one. Gibson’s is the world of the hunt and the kill, and he is exceptionally proficient at their depiction. Using Panavision’s new digital Genesis system, photographer Dean Semler brings tremendous momentum and adrenaline to the jungle chases that make up a large part of the action and, on its own terms, the film’s Maya City is an extraordinary feat of imaginative will, giving a convincing impression of lived-in and troubled complexity.

This is by no means a boring film, then, but it is a grotesque one, and that brings it pretty close to camp. A spirit of sadism informs the endemic violence: there’s no shortage of characters who delight in pain (including fat children and deformed dwarves of a type familiar from ‘The Passion…’), but even healthcare consists of lacerations and biting ants. And yes, nature is cruel, but do we really need to see a jaguar eating a man’s face off? Gibson claims contemporary parallels for his story – from deforestation to the sacrifice of the weak by the powerful – but a pay-off that teeters between reactionary and downright absurd leaves this ultimately feeling like a succession of gorified Boy’s Own scrapes.
0

Reviews

Add +

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
John

I was disappointed in this movie. I thought there would be some deep philosophical reflection on humanity or the meaning of life or something. It was in essence a chase movie, although there were some exciting moments in the chase.

Izzy

Yep, pretty pointless! Well filmed though, superb scenery and good pace of action, so can be appealing if you don't ask for much and enjoy guts and blood.

Caroline

If your bored of watching the same sort of film all the time, wanna get pulled in by a film, and sit at the edge of your seat ...than this is a great choice, Appeals to men and women, Although grewsome in some places the film making, storyline anf film was brilliant. Id recommend it.

Caroline

If your bored of watching the same sort of film all the time, wanna get pulled in by a film, and sit at the edge of your seat ...than this is a great choice, Appeals to men and women, Although grewsome in some places the film making, storyline anf film was brilliant. Id recommend it.

Tony

MASTERPIECE it probably isn't."Master peice"(sic) it certainly isn't. BUT a very good piece of film-making it certainly is and well worth watching.

Tony

MASTERPIECE it probably isn't."Master peice"(sic) it certainly isn't. BUT a very good piece of film-making it certainly is and well worth watching.

Barry

Although in parts very compelling and occasionally humourous (intentionally? I'm not sure) this films storyline is utterly ridiculous and completely pointless, well done Mel another master peice (NOT)