Apocalypto (18)

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Review byMatthew Turner03/01/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 138 mins

With impressive direction and strong performances this is a hugely enjoyable action thriller, even if the violence may be a little on the extreme side.

What's it all about?
Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) is a young Mayan who lives in a remote jungle village with his pregnant wife (Dalia Hernandez), his young son (Carlos Emilio Baez) and the rest of their tribe. However, when a band of evil warriors invade their village, they lay waste to everything in their path.

Before he is captured, Jaguar Paw manages to hide his wife and child in a deep pit, stranding them there in the process. His captors intend to sacrifice him to the Sun God but he escapes and a desperate chase ensues, with vicious warriors Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo) and Snake Ink (Rodolfo Palacios) in hot pursuit.

The Good
Director Mel Gibson tries to overlay some weighty themes by including a portentous quote at the beginning - A great civilisation is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within - but don't be fooled, this is simply a hugely exciting and extremely violent chase movie from beginning to end.

Youngblood has genuine screen presence and he's excellent in the lead role. There's also strong support from both Trujillo and Palacios, who make extremely nasty villains.

The Great
Gibson orchestrates some astonishing action sequences, even if he can't resist a few (admittedly welcome) cliches such as, a waterfall dive, animal attacks, quicksand, etc. His direction is extremely impressive, maintaining a breathless pace throughout and adding in a few amusing directorial flourishes, such as a tapir-cam or a point-of-view shot from a recently severed head.

That said, there's a disturbing amount of animal abuse in the film – tapirs, monkeys, jaguars and toads all meet rather gruesome ends.

Also, the violence is extremely graphic in places and may be too strong for some. Worth seeing?
This is a thoroughly enjoyable action thriller with strong performances and impressive direction throughout. Recommended.

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Apocalypto (18)
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Content updated: 26/09/2015 06:52

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