Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
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`Aguirre: The Wrath of God' is the culmination of their talents and arguably their best work. Ostensibly about the early 16th Century Peruvian expedition for a lost city of gold by the Spanish explorer Pizarro, the actual subject matter is about power and what some people will do to achieve it.
Staggeringly hypnotic and lyrical, this film ranks in my top five films of all time for the simple reason that it is incredibly dreamlike, yet ironically, the most realistic evocation of a historical period that has ever been portrayed on film.
Opening with a sweeping pan over a winding Incan trail, a team of Spanish conquistadors, Indian allies and native American and African slaves, beasts of burden and heavy artillery march down a steep incline. This is 1972 and there is no CGI, no trickery, Herzog actually forced his actors to lug a cannon around the Andes (and much more besides). Almost immediately a viewer will notice the menacing power of nature and the isolation of the expedition party. This isolation is what Aguirre calculatingly plays upon.
After the impressive opening, Pizarro's search for the city of gold (the Cibola of Peru) almost immediately runs into trouble. Uncertain of which direction to strike out for next, he divides his party into two and hands the leadership of the other party to a nobleman and assigns Aguirre as his lieutenant.Read more ›
"Aguirre, The Wrath of God" is intense. Herzog has created a film that feels unbearably realistic as he records his cast wandering around dazed and lost, sometimes looking directly at the camera in total despair. The soundtrack music, some haunting electronic soundscapes by Popol Vuh is kept to a minimum, and Herzog accentuates the tension by concentrating on the sinister quietness of the river and hazardous jungle. Kinski is sensational as the loathsome Aguirre, and as a metaphor for another notorious figure that embraced megalomania, the character takes on an even greater significance.
Shot by Herzog's regular cameraman, Thomas Mauch, the film is signposted with some extraordinary images - the opening where the conquistadors descend a mist shrouded mountain, a character who hallucinates to seeing a ship marooned upon a tall tree, and the final scene, where Aguirre is alone on his raft and over run with tiny monkeys is both astonishing and mocking...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great cinema for those people who have the ability to actually watch a great movie.
This is not a movie to be multi-tasked, viewer attention is required. Read more
Towering performance by Klaus Kinski - nobody else is at all like him.Published 4 months ago by dsasdfareaqwe4r
Everything was fine except the movie was in German, which I couldn't find stated anywhere.Published 5 months ago by Jasmyn B.
For years, I thought this was Herzog's best, tightest dramatic narrative. Seeing the film again recently, I think that this effect is achieved entirely through Herzog's use of the... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Angry Mofo
Worth having a physical copy. Immediate crossplatform access and ability to review in detail is good for mePublished 13 months ago by Frank Cornew
Creepy German movie by creepy German director starring creepy German mental patient The shape of Klaus' helmet is the shape of his head. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Barbara Streisand