Just finished watching Apocalypto. Disgusting. Gentle. Bloody. Brotherhood. Sacrifice, willing and otherwise. Courage. Brutality. Family. Raw. Beautiful.
Strange, to consider all those words for the same film.
Hard to watch, and hard to look away. Other films that have hit me like that include Saving Private Ryan, The Passion of the Christ, Schindler's List, and parts of The Hiding Place, The End of the Spear, Saints and Soldiers, and a few others.
Films like that engage the mind, make a person think, but they also elicit a visceral, elemental reaction. Survival instinct. And yet--despite the desire for characters to survive--such stories can also turn instinct on its head, especially when one character lays down his life for another, either giving it up or putting it in danger in order to rescue someone else. Those stories, though difficult, stick with the viewer or the reader long after "the end" has been flashed on the screen or read at the bottom of a page.
I want to write one of those.
(picture courtesy of Icon Productions / Touchstone Pictures)