December 08, 2006

Gibson's bloodlust is "cool," "fun"

'Apocalypto':  Driven by A Hunter's Gut InstinctsIt isn't pretty, except of course--by the subversive rules of cinema--it is, especially when [Jaguar Paw] puts spectacular coups de grace on the most savage of his pursuers. I liked the one where he cracks the guy in the skull with a bone-headed club and this little gurgle of blood, almost dainty, spurts out of the shattered skull. That was cool!

The film's version of Mayan culture is--hmm, what can you say? It's not overly opulent, seemingly made mostly of ziggurats and shanties, with no shopping malls or T.G.I. Fridays anywhere in sight. It reminded me a little of the place where Natalie Portman lived in one of the later "Star Wars" movies, and all the women look a little Princess Padme Amidala. It's just a hair short of out-and-out kitsch and in some venues giggles and snorts will be heard, though the tattoos are very cool and the Nefertiti hairdos all the rage.

It must be said that whatever its lumpy geopolitical agitprop, Gibson's "Apocalypto" is the lowest, maybe the best kind of--this is a strange but necessary word for a film this bloody--fun. It really goes like hell.

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