Looking for a truly immersive film? One that looks great and is masterfully made? One with FSK-18 action and a story from a real-world that is hardly illuminated by Hollywood? Then you should stream this title:
In terms of sheer power, Mel Gibson probably won’t be able to top Braveheart anymore. However, “Apocalypto” should be ranked right behind when it comes to evaluating the directorial work of the acting star. In terms of raw action and rousing atmosphere, the film set in the Central American jungle of the 16th century is for me the clear number one among Gibson’s many goods to very good works.
Visually intoxicating, Apocalypto is dominated by an almost palpable mystique while still being damn realistic. One of the other might even be too realistic. Because in addition to all its creative, technical, and acting qualities, this historical action spectacle is also extremely bloody. The sheer brutality is staggering at times; precisely because it appears so lifelike.
In adapting the story of a young Mayan, Gibson placed great emphasis on credibility and an otherworldly atmosphere. In order to maintain both, he decided not to shoot the film in English. Of course, he subtitled the dialogues presented in the language of the Yucatecan Mayans for us. But “Apocalypto” would work even without this help, its images are so powerful and expressive.
“Apocalypto”, which ranks number 63 in the DashFUN ranking of the best action films of all time, is currently included in the Amazon Prime Video subscription. Alternatively, you can also purchase it on DVD and Blu-ray:
This is the story of “Apocalypto” on Amazon Prime Video:
Jaguar’s paw (Rudy Youngblood) lives peacefully with his family in the forest. Then their camp is attacked by a group of brutal warriors armed with superior weapons. Any adults who do not die in combat will be tied together for transport. Shortly before the same thing happens to Jaguar’s paw, he is able to hide his pregnant wife (Dalia Hernández) and his young son in a deep hole in the ground.
Led by the mighty alphabet (Raoul Trujillo), the vanquished are taken to a huge city unknown to them. There the women are sold as slaves and the men are led to the top of a step pyramid for ritual killing in honor of the gods. Paw of the jaguar spends what he thinks his last moments are thinking about his little family. However, while he is already lying on the sacrificial block to be beheaded, something unpredictable happens: the sun goes dark in the middle of the day. The young man manages to escape into the jungle but is mercilessly hunted down by the leader of the pack and his captors…
“Apocalypto” has earned its FSK-18 sticker
It’s amazing the deadly stumbling blocks Gibson – along with his writing and producing partner Farhad Safinia (“The Professor And The Madman”) – put in the protagonist’s path here. That’s why I have to warn you seriously: The first-class staged fights between people, but also with nature, as well as the fascinating mass scenes with the ritual sacrifices, are not for the faint-hearted. When it comes to blood and gore, it’s like hard-hitting horror spectacles. It’s just that it all looks and feels so damn real. This is why the FSK quite rightly pulled out the “18+” seal.
Anyone who can and wants to endure such a thing will be rewarded with grandiose work. Gibson’s top collaborator in achieving this result was his director of photography, Dean Semler, who won an Oscar for Dances With Wolves. Even the opening tapir hunt in the jungle inspires in terms of dynamics, directness, and authenticity as well as in terms of perspectives. It is only the, as it turns out, relatively tame beginning.
“Apocalypto” is great cinema
Extremely important (and sensationally good!) is the score, which is occasionally used very sparingly and then comes up with full bombast. “Titanic” composer James Horner had already accompanied “Braveheart” with brilliant music for Gibson.