Newest Review: ... and heads on top of them. The hero of the film is the athletic 'Jaguar Paw' (Rudy Youngblood), who has just enough time to lower his... more
Member Name: darren55
Advantages: Depiction of a society destroying itself
Disadvantages: No English subtitles annoy some people
Apocalypto is a film directed by Mel Gibson depicting the Mayan civilisation of central America in the early 17th century, it depicts the Mayans in a time before the Spanish first arrived on the continent.
The film is filmed in Yucatec Mayan with subtitles.
Set in the latter days of the Mayan civislisation which is beset by problems from hostile neighbours and believing that the Gods have forsaken them by giving them hostile harvests and a lack of rain. The Mayans have started to self-destruct by picking on each other in a vain attempt to appeal to their gods for help, the Mayans lived in central America and have a violent society with human sacrifice and human bondage.
The film starts innocently with a tapir hunt, Jaguar Paw and his father Flint Sky along with a few villagers encounter a desperate band of Mayans fleeing a violent band of warriors. They give a warning over coming trouble but the group ignore them, the next morning a group of men invade the village and burn their huts before taking Jaguar Paw, Flint and others into bondage by tieing themselves to a long bamboo cane. They also trap Jaguars pregnant wife in a well and leave her to die, they also kill Flint and haul the men off towards the Mayan capital.
The film then truly begins depicting the brutality of the men's keepers and their views on the captive's. They mercilessly whip and beat the men forcing them along, they are given no more water and bread than is absolutely necessary for life. They are tied together in three or four to the same piece of bamboo via shackles on their necks. The director brings us into the world of jungle, dirt and oppression feeding on our fears over the exploitation of one race by another. Here we see the last thrashes of a desperate society trying to get over the climate changes present in their world. This is a world which believes its gods have forgotten them and in attempts to awaken them use more and more brutal methods. The captives reach the Mayab city, any women are taken away to be sold as slaves and the men are daubed with blue paint before being taken to the top of the large Mayan temple.
It's at this point that the film really goes into area's which few others fear to tread, after Mel Gibsons depiction of the crucifiction he again visits scenes of human destruction. This is no less brutal than the scenes in The Passion, only this time the men are subjected to having their hearts cut out and beheaded. Perhaps the worst of it is that the men witness the death of their friends knowing that they are going to be the next, this part of the film is directed superbly with close ups of the waiting men who show there fear through minimal face movements and a slow decline in the chatter between the group.
Jaguar Paws is taken for sacrifice but an eclipse saves him and the rest of the villagers, they are then taken to the testing grounds where they are simply informed that if they reach the end of the grounds they will be freed. Of course the soldiers then use them for target practice fro their arrows, javelins and sling shots. Jaguar Paws once again escapes and the soldiers chase after him but he escapes through encountering his totem, a jet black jaguar.
The film moves the viewer in that it shows how far societies will go when they are feeling threatened, here told through the eyes of Jaguar Paws we see the last days of a once magnificent society. The film doesn't flinch or give the viewer an easy time but simply shows the society they lived in, is it true to live probably not but as a film it hits all the right points.
The film also depicts the jungle brilliantly, here is a vibrancy and a sense of harshness which we don't get in James Cameron's Avatar, the lack of CGI in fact is in someway refreshing meaning that the sets and the actors themselves have to show the true meaning of the story.
Summary: A brilliant film