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Aguirre: the Wrath of God (DVD)

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1 Review
  • Hypnotic and tremendously atmospheric
  • Can perhaps be too slow or subtle for some
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      24.05.2014 12:26
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

      Advantages

      • "Hypnotic and tremendously atmospheric"

      Disadvantages

      • "Can perhaps be too slow or subtle for some"

      Spanish Conquistadors on the path of destruction

      Klaus Kinski is a 16th century Conquistador, leading an expedition along the Amazon to find the fabled golden city of El Dorado. However, the further they go along, the more their numbers thin out as the natives hidden in the jungles steadily pick off the group as they continue following their obsessive leader toward insanity. The first collaboration between Kinski and director Werner Herzog, 1972's "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" ("Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes") was a difficult and tumultuous shoot, made on location in the jungles of South America, during which the star and director frequently - and not for the last time in their working relationship - clashed violently together (they even seriously threatened each others lives during filming). However, the result is an often mesmerising adventure inexorably moving toward tragedy, with Kinski making a superbly nuanced performance despite all his troubles, a characteristic that made the actor such a powerful one in spite of his difficult personality - which also made his connection with Herzog so palpably functioning as the director knew how to handle him to the extent that he was literally the only one who agreed to work with the actor not only a second time, but on four future films. Herzog is one of those directors who is legendary for his difficult film shoots and there is a definite madness to his method, which his insistence on filming the movie in the middle of the Amazon far away from any civilised habitation shows, even if this would have surely eaten at the cast and crew even without the inclusion of the constant violent fights with Kinski. Still, there's no denying that the authenticity of the locations only further helped with the oppressive atmosphere, and the final scene of Kinski standing alone on a raft surrounded by monkeys is surreally beautiful, making this a movie that not only impresses with its pitch perfect tone, but leaves one mesmerised by its hypnotically dreamlike power. A masterpiece level film, complete with an ethereal Popol Vuh score and glorious Thomas Mauch cinematography. (c) berlioz 2014

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