Judging from the reviews, some members of the audience for Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, which touches on the downfall of the Maya civilization, may find themselves watching the movie the way they watch a horror flick -- between the middle and ring fingers of their right hand. "Viewers who share this director's apparently limitless appetite for gore will not be disappointed, since not much else in the way of bodily torment has been left to the imagination," writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times. Nevertheless, he concludes that the movie is "all in all, a pretty good show." Similarly Lou Lumenick in the New York Post describes Apocalypto as "well-made but gratuitously violent." Steve Murray in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that it's really quite a shame that so much violence is packed into the film. "There's no denying Gibson's talent behind the camera. He knows what he's doing, and does it with tremendous skill and conviction," he writes. "But the highly accomplished filmmaking makes you wish all the more that he would focus his talent on a film that didn't combine such simplistic storytelling with such elaborate orchestrations of bodily mutilation." Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post praises it as "something entirely unexpected, a sinewy, taut poem of action." Some critics, however, are not willing to give the director even a nod of approval. Michael Sragow in the Baltimore Sun concludes that in the end, it's really "just an arthouse film for jocks." And Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News condemns it as "a movie dedicated to bloodlust."




08/12/2006