Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes) Reviews

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April 29, 2018
A visually engulfing spectacle that blends the environment with the characters right away. It takes mutiny and pushes it to a raft and jungle and throws in crazy Kenski and Herzog to create a mix of fighting the elements an outward battle. Animals are tortured throughout as this is all about the classic lines that are tough as this one is long. Great jungle film but you start to feel you are on that raft with them and it gets old as this one wears you down. Better as a Doc or hearing what they went through during filming then what you see on film. Great soundtrack as that is the winner here along with small moments from our lead.
½ March 25, 2018

South America, 16th Century. Spanish explorer Don Lope de Aguirre leads an expedition down the Amazon river to find the fabled city of El Dorado. Beset on all sides by unfriendly natives, the journey will turn out to be a treacherous one. An even bigger enemy to the party is themselves, as they start to turn on each other. Even more problematic is their leader, who is quite oppressive and does not appear to be entirely sane.

Brilliant movie, written and directed by famed German director Werner Herzog. Herzog slowly and deliberately ramps up the intensity and insanity. Plot starts conventionally enough but then as things get more intense, becomes more unpredictable, mirroring the mindset and actions of the protagonists.

Powerful, profound ending.

Excellent work by Klaus Kinski in the lead role. Role suited him perfectly, as he himself was hardly a paragon of stability. This would be the first of five collaborations between Herzog and Kinski.
February 24, 2018
As a aspiring filmmaker, this film compels me in many ways. It is a great work that is truly brilliant. The idea of a man battling the human psych for untold riches. Who ignores all social requirments to find his one and only city of gold. It is a masterpiece that should live on forever.
½ February 17, 2018
Ambitious, but I lost interest in the somber, uncivil themes. 1001 movies to see before you die.
February 17, 2018
A classic long on my watchlist. Lots of inspiration here from Heart of Darkness and (therefore and obviously) itself a great source of inspiration for Kubrick's Apocalypse Now. Werner Herzog is well-regarded and Kinski's almost eccentric, if not outright eery, intensity (hey comes across to me almost reminiscent of the mannerisms of a Mussolini) delivers a memorable character performance. The overall haunting quality of the film as a whole is dreamlike in it's delivery, but dark in its implications of human nature and especially in larger context of the natural world itself which both surrounds and spawned that nature.

Removed from the historical context and cinematic importance and its potent subtexts, the film itself has not aged very well. An irreverent viewer or an inattentive viewing would result in a poor experience and a lot of questions about the high praise this film carries. Compounded by less than stellar supporting performances and special effects work, the film does have some flaws in need of forgiveness or overlooking in order to appreciate it for the classic it is and understand why it truly is deserving of the reputation which precedes it.
½ February 11, 2018
Don't waste your time unless you enjoy watching one angry guy stomp around and a bunch of people drift down a placid river while occasional arrows pick them off. By the end of the movie, the cast is bored enough that the arrows don't even bother them. I almost gave the movie a full star out of sympathy. But... nah!
½ December 23, 2017
An epitome of directive prowess combined with an almost unreal depiction of a (mostly) fictional character by Klaus Kinski created a horrific view of the pursuit of the New World that climaxed with one of the most surreal and twisted scenes ever filmed.
½ December 22, 2017
AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD is a great cinematic folly- it is one of the finest and most visionary films made about obsession and madness in an impossible situation. It is an astonishing achievement in filmmaking, in every sense of the word "astonishing".
November 12, 2017
This film rocks, ticking slowly towards its inevitable conclusion. The picture is shot beautifully with long shot duration takes. It is very powerful and I enjoyed it very much.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2017
Klaus Kinski turns in a fantastic performance in this film, and his helmet and piercing blue eyes combine for an iconic image. He plays a power-hungry 16th century rebel who is hell-bent on finding the golden city of El Dorado to achieve riches and fame. I love how director Werner Herzog filmed on a location and really 'took us there', not only to the Amazon, but to a doomed feeling of hopelessness as the raft the Spaniards are on drifts downriver on a fool's errand. On the other hand, it's a bleak tale, and one in which little episodes such as natives approaching in a canoe and the Spaniards burning one of their villages are stitched together somewhat weakly, with jumps forward in time. The screenplay and editing seem disorganized, and while that may add to an overall dreamlike (or nightmarish), chaotic feeling, which was perhaps the point, it also made it a little less enjoyable for me. There are certainly some great images in the film, bookended by a caravan traveling through the mountains at the beginning, to Aguirre raving delusions of grandeur on a raft overrun with monkeys at the end. For me it's a good film, but not a great one.
October 6, 2017
Less the God of Wrath, more of The Lord of The River Flies. It's short, but an epic film of grand proportion and might.
½ September 8, 2017
A meditation on the cruelties of conquest as well as the sufferings imparted on all it's participants. As did the production itself, Aguirre and company face a battle against elements in the jungle land they seek to take possession of on their road to El Dorado.

As with all of Herzog's films, he is fascinated with man's relationship to nature, sensitively watching interactions with animals, water, food, and common functions otherwise ignored by conventional films (namely the bathroom). I particularly love when Aguirre is the last man standing, reduced to his most common ancestry, surrounded by monkeys who he begs to see the wrath of God - these little fellas have neither the ego nor the inclination to ascend to man's need for such an entity who corrupts intent as we've seen.

Lit and shot like a documentary. Most shots seem very improvised, but there's a couple of circling shots around the raft which are beautifully staged, however cheaply done. The first one expresses the idea that they're going in circles while Aguirre tries to liven the morale on the ship unsuccessfully. The film then ends on a recurrence of this shot, expect now only surrounded by, appropriately, monkeys where there were once humans - this is all he has command of.
September 4, 2017
What an absolutely fantastic movie. This was my first Werner Herzog movie and all I have to say is, I can't wait to watch his other movies.

He has a very interesting way of filming and looking at things. It's very curious-like, almost like watching it from a curious child's point of view. It's incredible how he was able to capture all these memorable and dangerous moments while filming the movie. You almost get a feeling that most of these actors life's we're in jeopardy throughout the movie, which makes you watch even more closely because some parts almost seem like they weren't planned and just happened my coincidence. Klaus' acting is something to be really examined, he's a madman but in the best way.

Overall, amazing film. I haven't seen anything quite like this one and I'm very much looking forward to watching Werner's other movies.
½ August 27, 2017
*Spoiler Warning

When I looked at a summary of what this film would be about, I assumed that it was going to be a fast-paced action film. However, what I got was something entirely different. This film felt unique compared to other survival films, and I don't think that many other directors would be able to make it as good as good as Werner Herzog did. This is a kind of a film which gets more mysterious the more I think about it.

In 1560, hundreds of Spanish conquistadors leave their home in the Andes mountains in search of the fabled country of El Dorado. Running low on supplies, 40 men are ordered to scout ahead by a raft on a river. If they don't return in one week, they will be considered lost, and everyone else will return without them. However, their expedition proves to be more and more dangerous as the days go by.

As I said above, I was expecting something completely different. I was expecting a typical fast paced action/survival film. Instead, this movie had very few battle scenes. Most of the action showed a character hit by an arrow or die off-screen. We sometimes saw glimpses of Indians or heard gunfire in the distance, but every time a character was killed by the Indians, the enemy was always unseen. I feel like Herzog's reason for filming the action like this was to show how vulnerable the Spaniards were. It was almost like he was letting the audience know that they stood no chance against the Indians. This aspect also applies to other areas. For instance, after a group of people become untrusting of their leader Guzman, he is found mysteriously dead moments later. Another great scene is when one of the characters walks off into the jungle never to be seen again. However, the best use of this aspect involves the large group of people who waited for the 40 men to come back. Since they were never seen again in the film, it raised the possibility that they might be either struggling with the Indians or are already dead. I'd say that despite the exception of a single scene and a single line of dialogue, the action was perfect.

The character of Aguirre is hard to describe. The reason I say this is because it's hard for me to decide whether he was meant to be a protagonist, an anti-hero, or a villain. If I had to choose, I'd say that he falls somewhere in the middle of being an anti-hero and a villain. He seemed like a character who cared about nothing more other than having everything done the way he wants and discovering El Dorado at all costs no matter how much of his men are still alive. He didn't seem to care about the fate of his crew (except for maybe his daughter). If any of his men would try to defy him, he wouldn't hesitate to end their life. A great plot point that given us insight to how mysterious Aguirre's character is was how he wanted Ursua to die. After Ursua is sentenced to death, the leader of the group (Guzman) prevents him from dying (an action which clearly infuriates Aguirre). After Guzman's mysteriously killed off, however, there's nothing stopping Aguirre from executing the man. With that being said, I feel like Aguirre killed Guzman, because that way, he'd be able to kill Ursua without anyone stopping him. Guzman's death seemed convenient for Aguirre. Aguirre is definitely one of the more memorable movie characters I've seen in a while.

The visuals in this movie are also worth noting. They feel both awe-inspiring and unsettling. A great example of its visuals is the intro to the film. It does a great job introducing us to the environment the film takes place in. When the film starts off, we see hundreds of men and women marching down narrow paths in the mountains. The scope of this shot is amazing as it lets the audience know how insignificant the men are compared to the terrain they're walking across. It also gives you a feeling that the Spaniards and the Indians will encounter numerous hardships during their expedition. Another scene that has a similar feel to the intro is when we see the rafts floating down heavy rapids in the river. Both of these scenes show that Herzog isn't afraid of risking his crew's life just to make a film.

There are also a few haunting visual set pieces. One of these scenes occur near the end when the Spaniards see a ship up in the trees. All of them react differently to it. One person thinks that it's a hallucination while another person thinks that it's real. Aguirre tells his crew to bring the ship down so they can use it to sail to the Atlantic, but one member of Aguirre's crew immediately refuses to do so - this is one of the only times in the film where a character disobeys Aguirre. This is a disturbing scene as it shows us how weak the mental state is of the remaining crew members. Another memorable scene is the ending where monkeys overrun the raft. That scene shows how Aguirre has been conquered by nature.

In conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised with this film as it turned out to be completely different than how I imagined it would be. It's a brilliant film. It may not quite reach perfection, but it's still an outstanding and a unique film. The action scenes feel unsettling, Aguirre was a memorable villain, and the visuals evoked different moods from me. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Herzog in the future.
July 22, 2017
I was completely spellbound by Aguirre, The Wrath of God. Aguirre is a stunning film - so haunting & powerful film to watch. Slow paced and intense; the Amazon setting and music are dauntingly absorbing. When a films stuns you to the extent that you struggle to put your thoughts into words, you know it's a special one. Everything about Aguirre is astounding. Herzog's masterpiece is nothing short of a classic, and will continue to inspire other suspense-craving directors and audiences forever.
July 3, 2017
While it was a little odd hearing Conquistadors speaking German, that can quickly be forgiven as no other actor could have embodied Aguirre so well. This is a captivating tale of greed, obsession and insanity, with breathtaking visuals and camerawork.
June 18, 2017
Aguirre is a masterful, poetic examination of the collision of humanity and nature, with a brilliant script that brilliantly juggles its selfish characters, but yet allows them to be human.
June 3, 2017
To say that Werner Herzog plays it safe is a terrific understatement he has remained quite daring throughout his career.

The story of Spaniards in search of the lost city of gold El Dorado in the Amazon.

The film focuses on the 2nd in Charge commander who descents into madness & obsession & affects the whole group. Low Key film that is an interesting watch despite its unpredictable plot.
January 3, 2017
One of the greatest mysterious masterpieces in film. Aguirre is a haunting vision about Spanish conquistador Pizarro discovering Peru. After separating into groups, one is taken over by Aguirre, who longs for the discovery of the ancient city El Dorado. Werner Herzog believes in the voodoo of location, meaning that he places his actors in convincing locations, such as filming in a forest 500 miles from civilization, opposed to a rain forest right outside of a major city. Like only a handful of great epic films like Apocalypse Now, and 2001, watching the movie we are constantly aware of how it was made. Kinski's performance is one of the greatest in cinema not in small part due to the real conflict on set. The images, music and performance of Kinski is why this film will probably remain transcendent. It largely inspired the equally visionary Apocalypse Now, and later The Tree of Life. Aguirre is in a small handful of films that transcend to the sense of wonder and mystery. It is not about characters, except for Aguirre, whose personality is completely realized through his movements and expressions. Another similarity with Apocalypse Now is how Aguirre attaches one great scene after another, from the striking first shot of the movie, with a long line of men snaking its way up the mountain slope, to the chilling, and ambiguous climax. Out of all the films Herzog as done, Aguirre might be his most expressive and meditative work.
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