Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Movie: Apocalypto

To all the moral superiors out there who suggest we boycott this movie in order to punish Mel Gibson for his (albeit idiotic) comments I must point out that this is not a one-man stage show but the collective work of hundreds of actors/technicians/creators. And I ask – is it more important to punish one individual than to leave hundreds of innocents unpunished? It’s for the sake of those innocents that I paid to see Apocalypto.

And to those who cry ‘historical inaccuracy,’ I would certainly cry with you if only this were a documentary. Instead I will gently point out that this is fiction and that all fiction must inevitably offend some man or creature in some way though only in the strictest sense. Every story depicting a Doberman as a vicious guard dog would enrage me were I simple-minded enough.

‘Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story,’ is Richard Ingram’s famous dictum and to disagree is to declare enmity on all artists everywhere.

While the setting is almost surely Mayan, based on appearances alone and while certain activities fail to flatter, I will furthermore suggest that no history of Mayan behaviour is guaranteed accurate. In fact – the native guides at Mayan sites will confess that much of their dissertations are invented. I know. I was in Chichen Itza and I asked.

As for the story: It captures your attention early and doesn’t let go. A very nicely assembled thrill-ride. It is endlessly violent though rarely gratuitously so. It’s full of tension and emotion and there’s a plethora of very convincing acting to sell it all.

Unfortunately the climactic sequences are almost precisely a splicing of First Blood and Lord of the Flies.

Nevertheless I must insist that if you can stomache the violence – you must see it. It’s different enough that you owe it to yourself. But see it in the theatre while it’s still there. The landscape is key at times and demands the big screen.

No comments: