Apocalypto - The past revisited


Let me confess. I was not too keen to watch this movie but when I got to view the trailer during the screening of Dreamgirls, I changed my mind and was fortunate enough to bump into a colleague with an extra ticket right after I walked out of the Dreamgirls.

Mel Gibson has developed a 'passion' to work on really out-of-this-world scripts and having them in the original language that the story is set in. Passion of the Christ had us picking up a few words of Aramaic and Apocalypto has us picking up a few words of the Mayan language. Apocalyto is a small tale of one Mayan tribe.

During the decline of the Mayan Empire, the movie follows the fate of one character Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) who belongs to a tribe which is ravaged and captured to be scarified. The rulers are spending the period of decline in trying to appease the gods through sacrifice. Jaguar Paw is desperate to break free and reach his family of a pregnant wife and a son whom he was able to hide when their village is attacked.
There is quite a bit of reference to unchangeable truths. Like the jibes about a mother-in-law who is forever pestering for grandchildren. Some moments of light hearted jabber in the beginning focused on aspects which are applicable even today add to the credibility of the characters although in a light hearted manner.

Jaguar Paw's destiny appears to be linked with the whole empire, as foretold in a prophecy by a little girl afflicted with the plague. The whole movie is in the Mayan dialect with English sub-titles. In this movie you don't really need to read the subtitles. The story, the expressions, the characters are enough. Brilliant eye for detail and thoroughly professional performances by a whole ensemble of largely unknown actors, with a lot of blood and gore thrown in makes sure that this movie is an unforgettable treat to the eye.

When I say gore I really mean it ! The scene where the sacrifices are being done is absolutely gruesome and so is the one in the beginning where the hunters skewer a Tapir and cut apart the spoils. I am not one who gets turned away by this anyway and was only amazed at the eye for detail and the magic of movie making.

The movie is a visual treat and really really amazes you as to what cinema is capable of if it can completely take you through time into an age which you have only heard about. It is almost as if you are there in a different world altogether. In this movie it is almost as if the very jungle is a character with its darkness and light. Where the movie begins to lose you is with the focus on only the specific characters rather than taking a view of the civilization itself. The whole movie is focused entirely on one incident and that is Jaguar Paw, his family, his capture and impending sacrifice while suddenly ending it with the depiction of change in the form of appearing visitors.

I know the movie hasn't got great reviews but I have always been partial to movies that's really use the power of movie making to push the envelope, so to speak. Apocalypto is one such movie.
I for one,will buy the DVD when it comes out. It is another lesson in movie making.

1 comments:

Bikas Mishra,  March 14, 2007 at 3:39 AM  

ved, have not been able to catch it yet. though it's on my watchlist....after reading your review feel shouldn't delay it any longer..had i only had a friend with an extra ticket!

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