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A haunting journey of natural wonder and tangible danger, Aguirre transcends epic genre trappings and becomes mythological by its own right.
All Critics (46)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (45)
| Rotten (1)
| DVD (4)
Aguirre is a compelling piece of historical fiction that lingers in the memory largely because of its lush, claustrophobic atmosphere and the towering presence of Kinski.
It looks more magnificent and mad than ever, one of the great folies de grandeur of 1970s cinema, an expeditionary Conradian nightmare like Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
Made for buttons, it's an awesome feat of filmmaking.
The acting is properly larger than life, especially Klaus Kinski as the title character, a lean, driven but imposing man who has heads lopped off when in any way interfered with in his task of destruction and exploration.
Aguirre, Wrath of God is not just a great movie but an essential one.
This is a splendid and haunting work.
His Spanish conquistadors were no match for the natural splendor and terror of the Amazon, but Herzog was, and he conquered cinema.
Aguirre, The Wrath of God is not just about a group of fifteenth-century explorers but is a poignant reflection of the world we still live in.
"Aguirre, The Wrath of God" leaves you feeling as if you are watching a documentary rather than a fictionalized drama. In some ways, what you are seeing is nothing short of the absolute truth.
Idiosyncratic visionaries don't come any more idiosyncratic or visionary than Werner Herzog.
Herzog's riveting Brechtian epic about a catastrophic expedition across the Andes and down the Amazon in 1560 is arguably his best work ...
The whole movie merges landscapes and character with such force that, once seen, you never forget it.
The documentary "My best fiend" stunningly portrayed the love/hate relationship between director Werner Herzog and his star Klaus Kinski, this is one of their collaborations showing that both were willing to go to lengths to realize a project. One of the film's biggest assets, but also one of the greatest obstacles in the making, is the filming on location in the South African jungle. The impressive opening shot alone makes you appreciate the effort. With the river and the jungle almost becoming hostile characters of their own, Aguirre's expedition faces constant threats both from the outside and within, unable to escape their fate. Despite of the impressive landscapes, the film almost feels like an intimate play. Some of the acting feels a tad amateurish, but it actually gives the result an even more realistic touch. As the expedition has nothing left to do than kill time and miraculously hope for food while sitting on their raft, the movie suffers a little under its own slowness. Still, a memorable and impressive historical drama.
Deep in South American jungle there's something afoot. A splinter group from Pizzaro's expedition is sent to find El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. This group is steeped in Christianity as they spread it throughout the new land and the natives that inhabit it. It's like a trade in a way: We'll give you Christ if you give us the gold. As the film progresses and the group heads further into the jungle everything begins to fall apart as the natives become more and more restless and Aguirre (Klaus Kinski) develops the obsession of being the next Cortez.
Aguirre lends itself to so many films that came after it, particularly Apocalypse Now. The basic premise between the two films is the same. A mission on a boat slowly falls into total chaos. Just like the characters on screen, we have no idea what's around the bend in the river ahead. With Aguirre, there are two things that make it such a great movie. The first is Werner Herzog's direction. All great directors use the environment and the background as another character in their film. Herzog accomplishes this by making shots seem so beautiful and so sinister at the same time. What lies in the trees over there? Herzog gets into the soul of the jungle right along with the souls of the characters.
Of course when we talk about characters we have to discuss the second part of the Aguirre equation and that is Klaus Kinski. He is that desire, that rage, that cut throat individual that will advance to his goal no matter what the cost. He surveys the land like a god looking over his domain. He will start is own empire, even when things are at their darkest. In a way Aguirre and Kinski are bound by their identities. They're the same person in the end.
Aguirre is one of those films that people stumble upon. A story that doesn't sound like much on the surface becomes an imaginative journey into the unknown. A story that is universal in nature, Aguirre is a great piece of German cinema.
I've seen it but I've never REALLY seen it.
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