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Posted on 7/08/11 12:27 PM
If the god-awful Passion of the Christ needed to be made for this masterpiece to exist then so be it. A beautifully and expertly made movie about the unsettling elements of civilization. It effectively drives the point that the threats of persecution, violence and despair can never disappear. You might think your own life is pretty safe right now but really how secure IS that job of yours?
The film becomes especially profound when it is thought about as commentary on the emergent effects of urbanization, corporatization, and mass media. The embodiment of how morality is not constant and always at the mercy of a people's state of desperation or security.
What's great about Apocalypto is that the outcome from the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist have no bearing whatsoever on the plight of the overall population. The force driving this great civilization to ultra violence is not attributable to simply a tyrannical overlord or to a corrupt small group of individuals subverting peacefulness - No, it is the very CONDITION, the overall CIRCUMSTANCES which these people live under enabling this treachery: there is starvation, disease, hopelessness, insecurity ... a total state of DESPERATION felt by the whole of these people which is breeding superstition and cruelty.
Further unsettling is when the Catholic, cross-wielding Spanish approach the beaches in their ships. As the film ends we know that more slaughter is to follow, now from the hands of Europeans - However unlike the indigenous peoples, they slaughter not out of desperation to survive, but rather because of their desire for conquest and luxury: ultimately being strongly critical of the disingenuous use of Christianity to legitimize the whims of the ruling class.
If Gibson was indeed going for a message on the consequences of indigenous people worshiping their false gods in a false religion then its a relief that this message was completely lost on me. Christianity comes off looking just as bad. I feel the ideas in this film are much bigger than what he may have personally envisioned and intended.