Friday, December 15, 2006
After everything I had heard about the violence of this film, frankly, I was expecting a lot worse. Is it violent? Yes, but it is also a terrific film. Say what you will about Mel Gibson's personal behavior but when he's behind the camera, he is an excellent filmmaker. Mr. Gibson definitely has issues. With each of his last few films, he has upped the violence level considerably. However, he has also written and directed a film with a simple yet powerful story, well acted and beautifully shot.
Jaguar Paw lives a peaceful existence in the Mayan jungle with his son and pregnant wife. Their village is raided by another more powerful tribe and many are killed. Jaguar Paw manages to hide his wife and son but is captured along with other men of the tribe. They will be kept alive only to be sacrificed later to appease the gods. His escape and the manhunt that ensues make up the rest of the film. The sacrifices made at the temple are extremely violent but actually could have been far more graphic. Knowing what these men are capable of makes things all that more exciting as Jaguar Paw is pursued through the jungle, determined to survive and find his family.
The cinematography is wonderful. The pace of the film is frenetic and never lets up. The music, by James Horner, compliments the story beautifully and don't be put off by the sub-titles. Yes, the film is spoken in a Mayan dialect but dialog is kept to a minimum and visually, the story is very easy to follow.
Cover your eyes at times but don't be afraid to see this original, well crafted, exciting, adventure.