Sunday, April 6, 2008


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)


The Texican said...

Great Post. I like your list of examples.

Anonymous said...

As I said in my "Character Deaths" post, I do like realism if it's presented in the right way. If the sacrifice is real and meaningful. And I know that feeling, you can't stop thinking about that film. Watching The Patriot was an experience for me--you couldn't forget it!


I've read some comments and questions regarding Apocalypto i.e. historical anachronisms, why did Gibson even make the film, etcetera, but from a storytelling point of view, why not make a film about Mayans? We tell all sorts of other stories all the time. If you ever do watch the film, though, watch it a second time with the director's commentary turned on. That'll answer a lot of questions.

I don't enjoy watching (or reading about) brutality for brutality's sake, but the mentality and religion of the Mayan people at that time requires its presence in the story.