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December 08, 2006

Rave For Apocalypto

From the WaPo.

A just-barely-fresh rating of 60% from Rotten Tomatoes, which isn't so bad when you consider this film is 1) very politically incorrect, 2) apparently graphically violent to the point of being nearly NC-17, and 3) directed by the despised Mel Gibson.

Here's another one, from the Seattle P-I, of all places:

For all its excesses, it's an absorbing, disturbing, savagely beautiful "trip" movie, and an extraordinary -- perhaps even outrageous -- personal vision of the one A-list filmmaker who truly deserves the adjective "maverick."

...

To say that the movie is over the top is a vast understatement. Gibson creates a world of almost unimaginable cruelty, brutality and inhumanity, and Jaguar Paw's journey is filled with more cliffhanger situations than "The Perils of Pauline."

Indeed, the movie's world is so extreme that it's almost ludicrous. And yet, through Gibson's bravura feat of epic filmmaking, it's also so bizarrely alien, so visually stunning, so interesting in every frame that it's totally hypnotic.

"Apocalypto" is also a movie with a disturbing psychological impact. Like the better films of Stanley Kubrick and David Lean, it takes us on a unique odyssey through a big slice of history and leaves us with an uneasiness that is difficult to sort out.

...

But this is not at all apparent from the movie. What is apparent is that the movie is an all-out attack on tribal culture, which Hollywood has idealized throughout its history and made a fetish in the era of political correctness.

I'm not sure how conscious this is on Gibson's part. It's likely not a position he has carefully thought out. In many ways, this is the work of an angry, unstable, self-destructive artist guided by pure instinct: a Modigliani or Van Gogh painting on a $100 million canvas.

But his movie definitely is telling us that tribal sensibility, which films like "Dances With Wolves" celebrate so nostalgically, actually is primitive and backward; and its resurgence in Africa and the Middle East is causing all the problems in our world.

Maybe I will see it after all.


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posted by Ace at 01:34 PM

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