Film Review: Apocalypto

Film: Apocalypto

Director: Mel Gibson

Cast: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Johnathan Brewer

Rating: 3.5/5

Apocalypto is a treat to watch.

The film not only talks of a time when supernatural beliefs and norms existed, it also goes all out to portray the change in time, which started with the entry of Christian missionaries in the Americas.

If you expect merely to see the happy life of Mayans in this film, then it’s not for you. This flick is fierce, gory and beautifully so. The entire film is in the Mayan language, and you are left reading English subtitles to comprehend what is being said, the dialogues are crisp and often hit you with a punch.

The underlying story of Apocalypto is that of Jaguar Paw, essayed by Rudy Youngblood. The film begins with a visually spectacular scene of him and his fellow tribesmen trying to hunt a tapir, succeeding eventually. They later discover scores of people, with fear riding them, crossing the jungle in search of a home.

Everything is normal till their tribe is attacked and they are hunted and captured by a sect of Mayan marauders, who aim to sell them as sacrificial lambs to the tribe high priest. What follows is a Disney story told with great passion and with a lot of bloodshed, it is the story of Jaguar Paw’s escape and vengeance from the destroyers of his clan.

The beauty of the film lies in the manner in which the imagery of old customs and beliefs are depicted. From human sacrifices to belief in supernatural forces, all of it is told with great accuracy and precision. The imagery Gibson provides in this film is eye popping, jaw dropping stuff.

The narration of the story in a different language adds volumes in making it seem like you are witness to entire acts of grisly occurrences.

The film is a beautiful combination of a powerful script and slick camerawork. The trailing shots and chase sequences have you clenched in your seat and hooked on to the screen. The scene where the jaguar is seen chasing Rudy is remarkable and leaves you with a pair of well trimmed nails. Even in the scene where a wounded Jaguar Paw is seen hiding atop a tree to escape Mayan warriors, the shot is remarkably framed in such a manner that you see Jaguar Paw’s expression as also the warriors passing below him. Simply great stuff. There are scenes where one is led to believe that Mel Gibson has been self indulgent and is making a statement, proving what he is capable of (We need no proof, Merci!)

The background score gives a lot to the film, in terms of making the chase and fight sequences entertaining and gripping.

There have been a lot of films with bloodthirsty scenes, but this one packs all of them into a single film and that again is impressive.

Production values are top notch and so is the acting. This film stars a majority of debutant actors along with a host of actors with a background in acting on television. To have them perform with conviction is brilliant. To be able to direct them and have them perform would have certainly been a task, hats off to Gibson to be able to carry this one off (Things like these make you believe he is trying to prove a point, keep doing so by all means Mr Gibson).

Apocalypto has a lot barring it from doing well in India. For starters, the film’s not in English. So, even if you do understand English but are not able to read it fast enough; it is not necessary you might enjoy doing so. Secondly, the film caters to a multiplex audience and with a plot as violent as this, it is not necessarily going to go down well with the audience. Having said that, it can be taken for granted that this film will have a majority share of the urban youth viewing it.

In a nutshell, Apocalypto is a feast for the eyes and a treat for all those wanting to catch an awe-inspiring film. Bravo Mr Gibson!

Sanjay Ram

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