Apocalypto (2006) – Review

Set around the time of Mayan civilisation, a young man’s journey is followed after his peaceful tribe is forcefully attacked by strangers, who were seeking slaves and a large amount of people for human sacrifice. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) hides his wife and young son in a deep cave nearby, before being captured himself. He must then fight to survive and return to save his family. A massively successful Mel Gibson picture that centers around a subject that many filmmakers would try to avoid.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Mel Gibson
Writers: Mel Gibson, Farhad Safinia
Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Gerardo Taracena, Rodolfo Palacios

While some people have bemoaned the complete accuracy of the movie, Apocalypto is a widely acclaimed historical flick that has been praised greatly since its original release in 2006. Nominated for three Oscars and several other awards, this could be regarded as a must watch for any movie lover out there.

The first thing anybody thinking about watching this flick should anticipate is a tremendous onslaught of bloody and savage violence. In total, over one hundred on-screen deaths were captured, and it’s safe to say that the story in general isn’t one for the faint hearted. The sheer intensity managed to last from the first minute until the closing moments – spanning over the entire one-hundred and thirty-nine minute runtime.

Of course, with movies such as Apocalypto, the unique and at times wonderful setting and filming locations on display are one of the largest appeals. The majority of this one was shot in Mexico – Las Tuxtlas to be more specific – a region in the south of the Mexican state, Veracruz. Rather surprisingly, there was even a scene filmed late on that was captured at Polgaver Beach in the United Kingdom – something slightly unexpected at the time of watching.

The cinematic experience in general was one to remember, along with some spectacular backdrops. Not only was the setting authentic, but the acting was too – along with the impressive costume design and special effects. In terms of the cast, as mentioned, they were all extremely believable, with Rudy Youngblood starring as Jaguar Paw and Gerardo Taracena adopting the role of Middle Eye. In films like Apocalypto, it’s difficult to capture the full support cast as it tends to be very vast and diverse, something that was no different here.

Overall, while the first half of the flick seemed extremely unique, intense and at times shocking, I did get the impression that the latter half, and consequently the survival aspect of the film did veer marginally down a path of predictability, with one or two moments standing out as being slightly unrealistic in nature. With that being said, if you’re able to suspend your sense of realism and enjoy this action-packed thrill fest for what it is, then you’ll be sure to enjoy Apocalypto.

“I am Jaguar Paw. This is my forest. And I am not afraid.”

Jaguar Paw – Apocalypto

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