This movie directed by veteran actor Mel Gibson released in December 2006 (USA) and was nominated for 3 Oscars and managed to bag 6 awards, to be clear none was Oscars!! The story of this much talked about film revolves around the Mayan civilization and is an effort to showcase the savagery of the people and their superstitions. The story is a simple one, accounting the journey of a man ripped away from his family, and his attempts to get away from his captors and return to their side. Wrapped around this simple center is a tale that could be pointed towards the dangers of organized religion.
The Mayan temple is suffering from a drought, hence crop failure and as well as from plague. The villagers think it to be a curse on them and the only way out is to offer human sacrifice to their deity. So the villagers set out to find their catch in the nearby jungles from the smaller tribes, sparing not even the women and children who are kidnapped only to be sold to their people for vested purposes. The main character, Jaguar Paw is (played by Rudy Youngblood), one of the captives who decides to defy his destiny and leaves behind his pregnant wife and a small child in a ditch to save them from being taken away, with a promise to return.
The movie offers a series of twist and turns, with splendid sets and indeed very realistic ones to take away the monotony. The movie is also filled with a number of gory moments which make you feel nauseated and your heart thumping out loud enough. Instances where the hero stumbles on the heap of mutilated headless bodies and also where some lizards like animals are up on display in the market place to be sold are classic examples.
However, the plot of the story appears incomplete leaving the audience disappointed about the not so appropriate end, wondering what was so great about it. The only thing intriguing in this story were the almost real like sets and the finesse with which the costumes and weaponry were done. Infact,at times, they almost give a feeling of being transported to the land of Mayan civilization. The intricacy and grace with which the characters, surroundings and everything else have been filmed shouts out loud the reason why the film could add a couple of awards for cinematography to its kitty.
The lack of any happy moments makes it a heavy watch. It’s far too violent in some parts where you just feel like changing the channel as you can’t stand the corpses or the slow death inflicted upon the innocent. The movie fails to convey any significant message with this story and is very off target; on the whole it fails to create an impact as far as its story is concerned. However we can draw some analogies regarding the story, one being the dominance by the strong over the weak for their purpose.
The USP of the story is surely the huge budget and of course the research that has gone into creating the whole atmosphere of the ancient civilization. A person who doesn’t mind watching bloodshed, murders and ruthless treatment of living beings for full two and a half hours at a stretch may find it interesting and may also enjoy it.