Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto is a movie that makes you rethink the meaning of human existence. It’s a juxtaposition of human brutality and humanity. Apocalypto is the story of a young man running in fear to escape death only to discover that the only way to really escape is to stop running. It’s also the struggle of one man against an entire society built upon excesses where human lives are commoditized as sacrifices or slaves.
Young Jaguar Paw is a hunter from a tribe in the Mesoamerican jungle. The tribe’s fortune changes dramatically when they’re attacked by pillagers sent from a more advanced Mayan city-state. After losing almost everything that’s precious, fortune gives him one chance to run.
The entire movie is shot in some Mayan dialect with subtitles. This combined with the cinematography makes the movie look like a time machine’s peek into a lost era. Violence and blood is prevalent but never sensational. The violence is presented in a way to illustrate human frailty and human resilience at the same time. At a deeper level the movie is a commentary on the ultimate triumph of individuals over civilization which is bound to repeat cycles of prosperity and decline of conquering and being conquered.
It was a good movie.