Apocalypto - Action Passion
| Put aside what you think about Mel Gibson. Apocalypto is a great action movie and you donít have to like him to like it.
Apocalypto is a simple story of a man who is taken captive and has to escape to save his family from the same fate. There isnít more to it than that. It just does that very well.
Gibson has crafted a beautiful film that is paced with an energy that sustains you through the tale. Itís like a legend, whose moral about self-destructing civilization is an insightful one, that doesnít overwhelm the story. It is the adventure that dominates. Whether itís the ravaging of the peaceful village by the warriors of the more ďadvancedĒ civilization, the daring escape, the jaguar hunt or the chase scene that takes up a significant portion of the latter half of the film, Apocalypto is exhilarating and breathtaking.
It also succeeds because of its intensity. Like Gibsonís last film, he is fascinated with the consequences of violence. He doesnít make characters disposable, dying off to the side like a video game, to be cheered when they die. Instead you feel each and every blow. The violence here is not glamorized. Itís painful.
He also humanizes all the characters. We are given insight into the minds and hearts of the pillagers as well as the victims. No one is periphery. Gibson reminds us of the humanity of all the warring sides.
This all adds to the power of the adventure. The stakes feel more real than in the average action flick. Itís not about things blowing up, itís about real survival. Itís the kind of film that drags you to the edge of your seat and leaves you there.
Gibsonís visuals are stunning from the incredible way he captures the immense beauty of the rainforest to the startling Mayan city of corruption. Gibson loves his subject and it shows in the way he crafts his film.
Also kudos to the cast of non-actors who have to speak all their dialogue in an ancient language they donít understand. The casting doesnít taking you out of the film as it would if there were stars in the piece. Instead, you are taken further into the story.
Apocalypto may be seen by some as non-commercial because there are subtitles, not stars and no car chases. If thatís the state of cinema we are in a poor situation indeed. Apocalypto is everything a great action film should be.