Apocalypto (2006)

Starring: Rudy Youngblood, Dalia Hernandez, Morris Birdyellowhead

Directed by: Mel Gibson

R. 138mins.

Stunning and extremely violent, it’s Gibson’s finest achievement. Set amongst the crumbling Mayan civilization that was once so powerful, Apocalypto  is the story of young hunter named Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood). His tribe is kidnapped from their small village hidden deep in the rainforest and dragged into the heart of Mayan civilization only to be sacrificed to their sun god. Jaguar Paw’s escape is a simple story but the spirit of the film is palpable. Gibson infuses this film with passion and makes this story feel wholly authentic even if it’s simply a chase movie. There are larger themes at play here but since it focuses on one man’s journey it’s less of an examination of Mayan society and more of a violent thrill ride. With great performances from unknown actors (some even descendants of the Yucatan people) and top-notch camerawork, Apocalypto certainly has a pulse – * * * *

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